Jaylon Ferguson, an outside linebacker who was entering his fourth season with the Baltimore Ravens, died after the authorities found him unresponsive in a North Baltimore home late Tuesday, the police said. He was 26.
The Baltimore Police said in a statement that officers were called to the home just before 11:30 pm to investigate a “questionable death.” When they arrived, Mr. Ferguson was unresponsive, said Detective Niki Fennoy, a department spokeswoman. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, she said.
There were no signs of trauma or foul play, Detective Fennoy said, but investigators “are not ruling out the possibility of an overdose.”
Mr. Ferguson’s body was taken to the medial examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, the police said.
The Ravens announced Mr. Ferguson’s death on social media early Wednesday morning, saying that the team was “profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson.” The team described Mr. Ferguson as a “kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality.”
“We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon,” the team wrote.
The Ravens selected Mr. Ferguson during the third round of the 2019 NFL draft as the 85th overall pick. In his rookie season, he recorded 31 tackles and 2.5 sacks, and he contributed to a Ravens defense that ranked third in points allowed. In 2020, in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he recorded a career high of six tackles.
Mr. Ferguson, a Louisiana native and a graduate of Louisiana Tech University, broke the all-time NCAA record for career sacks with 45, earning the nickname “Sack Daddy” and beating out a longtime former Ravens player, Terrell Suggs, who posted 44 career sacks at Arizona State University.
Current and former teammates and players around the NFL shared tributes to Mr. Ferguson on Wednesday.
Josh Bynes, a Ravens linebacker, said on Twitter that he and Mr. Ferguson always had “real” conversations.
“Joked together, laughed together, prayed together, fought on the field together!!” he wrote. “Just a genuine spirit.”