Former Michigan State, Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers dies at 38
Rogers was a star college athlete at Michigan State and appeared destined for big things when he was drafted by the Lions, although his career in the league never quite took off as many had hoped.
He was released by the Lions in 2006 and subsequent attempts to break back into the league with the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t work out.
Rogers reportedly struggled with drug issues, in particular after his career came to an end.
The news of his death came on Monday morning from former teammates on social media as well as Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press.
Can confirm: Former MSU and Lions WR Charles Rogers has died. The Saginaw native was 38 years old.— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) November 11, 2019
According to reports in the local press, Rogers had been battling cancer and liver disease.
“He had cancer, whether that was related to his liver I don’t know,” said Marshall Thomas, a former Saginaw High basketball coach and athletic director, adding: “They had given him 30 days to live if he didn’t get a liver transplant."
Rogers was a 2002 All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football.
However, he managed just 15 games in three seasons with the Lions, partly being inhibited by collarbone injuries.
He openly spoke of smoking marijuana frequently while at Michigan State and during his career in the NFL, and also had issues with alcohol.
In a 2017 report in the Lansing State Journal, he was said to have owed the Lions $6.1 million of his signing bonus, but told the newspaper he was essentially broke.
Don Durrett, a former coach, paid tribute to Rogers, saying: “I’ll tell you, he was the best athlete I ever seen. I mean, honestly.
“We’re talking about basketball, football and track together. He could have had a scholarship in all three sports. That’s how good. … I haven’t seen nobody that fast that could do it all. He was just a blessed athlete that could do it all.”