Former NFL wide receiver Michael D. Jackson has passed away at the age of 48.
Jackson divided his eight seasons in the pros between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, and he led the league in receiving yards in 1996.
After retiring from football, Jackson successfully ran for mayor of his hometown of Tangipahoa, Louisiana.
Sadly, it was while he was riding his motorcycle through the streets of his beloved hometown that Jackson’s life was tragically cut short early Friday morning.
Police say Jackson was riding his 2013 Kawasaki at a “high rate of speed” when he collided with a car that was backing out of a driveway.
The impact of the crash was so powerful that Jackson’s motorcycle smashed through the passenger’s side door of the car and killed the driver, a 20-year-old woman.
A full investigation into the accident is being conducted.
Tributes to Jackson from fans, friends, and former teammates have been pouring in on social media since the moment that news of his death went public.
But while he’s most famous for his career on the playing field, those who knew Jackson best say it’s his commitment to public service that they’ll remember most.
In 2008, Jackson entered the political arena and served for four years as the mayor of his native Tangipahoa.
“Right now, I want to set a standard,” Jackson told the press upon being elected.
“I want to have that standard high enough so that whomever decides to run for this position they will feel obligated to do at least what I have done and far better — so that’s what I want to do.”
“I want to set a concrete floor, so we can erect a house here in my hometown.”
Though his career was cut short by injury, Jackson put up impressive numbers in several seasons and played alongside some of the legends of the game.
He was a teammate of Brett Favre’s during his time at Southern Mississippi University, and he played for Bill Belichick when the future Patriots legend was head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
“Michael Jackson was more than a great player, he was a great man,” the Cleveland Browns tweeted.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in peace.”