RIP John Thierry

John Thierry was a teammate of Steve McNair at Alcorn State, the heir apparent to Richard Dent in Chicago, and the leading sacker for the reincarnated Browns team of 1999.

In the past 11 weeks, not only have the Browns lost every game this season, but three people I know in real life, all middle-aged guys like me, have sustained and survived major cardiac events. Sadly, former Brown John Thierry is gone at 46.

The former Bears first-round pick suffered a heart attack Friday.

He led the hapless 1999 Browns with a career-high seven sacks in his only season in Cleveland. His best game came in a December 5 loss in San Diego, where he sacked Jim Harbaugh three times and forced two fumbles.

The second fumble gave the Browns the ball just 40 yards away from erasing a six-point deficit, with over 19 minutes to go. They immediately went three-and-out, punted, and failed to get a first down the rest of the game. So it goes.

Another missed opportunity (unless Chris Berman tried it without me noticing) was not calling him John “Big Bang” Thierry until the nickname stuck.

OK, sorry, that’s probably too flippant for the occasion. He died too soon, too young. Of all the Browns players (including draftees who never played) in all the years since 1946, Thierry is the 31st to pass away before turning 50.

According to my research, the causes are as follows:

  • Cardiac arrest/heart failure 10
  • Cancer — 7
  • Other natural/unknown — 7
  • Accidental — 5
  • Homicide — 1
  • Casualty of war — 1.

So watch your cholesterol, don’t smoke, get your physical, and take stress management seriously. There are worse things to worry about, and a lot more to lose, than just football games.

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