Uchechukwu Nwaneri, a former offensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars who was 38 years old, passed away on Friday, the team confirmed on Monday.
As reported in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Nwaneri had drove his wife from Georgia to Indiana. She discovered him unconscious in a bedroom of her West Lafayette house at around one in the morning on Friday and dialed 911.
According to Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello, early postmortem findings showed no evidence of foul play and, pending the results of a toxicology test, suggested that he may have had a heart attack.
On social media, all of his friends and family who are missing him and remembering him have posted tributes and condolences:
Let Uche Nwaneri rest in peace. From 2007 through 2013, @Chukwu77 spent seven seasons with the @Jaguars, during which time he developed a close relationship with the team’s supporters. My family and I would like to express our condolences to Uche’s family and friends at this difficult time on behalf of the Jaguars team.
Nwaneri was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1984, after his parents moved there from Nigeria in 1973. His parents gave him the name Uchechukwu Nwaneri, which in their local tongue means “God’s wish.”
In the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who he played for seven seasons. He started 92 of the 104 games he participated in for the Jaguars, according to NBC Sports.
The Jaguars selected him in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and he eventually rose to the position of starting guard for the team, guarding quarterbacks such as David Garrard, Luke McCown, Blaine Gabbert, and Chad Henne. He started 92 of the 104 games he appeared in during his tenure for Jacksonville.
After the 2013 campaign, Jacksonville released him, and in March 2014, he entered the free-agent market. Later that summer, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys but never clicked with them and was cut before the season began.