Jaylon Ferguson, the Ravens outside linebacker found unresponsive last month in a North Baltimore home, died from the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine, according to a spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Bruce Goldfarb, the agency’s spokesman, said the death had been ruled an accident following an autopsy of the 26-year-old.
Goldfarb said no written autopsy report was available yet, but the agency’s goal is to have one 90% completed within 90 days.
Baltimore Police said previously that investigators had not ruled out the possibility of an overdose, and that there were no signs of trauma or foul play.
Det. Vernon Davis, a police spokesman, said Friday the investigation was ongoing. He did not answer questions about whether the agency had identified a suspect or criminal wrongdoing.
In a statement, the Ravens said: “Our priority is focused on the man Jaylon was and the positive impact he made on so many as a father, son, fiancé, friend and teammate. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further while we continue to support his family and teammates, who are mourning the tragic loss of a loved one and will celebrate his life tomorrow.”
His fiancee, Doni Smith, declined to comment Friday on the nature of his death. She said he should be remembered as a record-breaking college player, a great father and great partner.
Smith told The Baltimore Sun in an interview that he was a quiet guy who would “give the shirt off his back to anybody.” He hoped to live an “ordinary life” after his NFL career, she said, dreaming of having a farm and coaching football.
“Jaylon definitely had the biggest heart that I’ve ever imagined,” she said. “He would meet people, and they would instantly become family.”
A viewing and funeral service for Ferguson is scheduled for Saturday in St. Francisville, Louisiana, according to an Instagram post by Smith.
Ferguson’s family issued a statement following his death calling it “one of the darkest moments in our lives.” It went on to ask for privacy during this “difficult time.”
An online fundraiser for Ferguson’s three children described a prior house fire that resulted in the loss of some personal belongings. Ferguson, it said, “desperately tried to put out the fire in order to save his children’s possessions to the point where his own toes were burned in the process.
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“Jaylon was a provider for his family and in times like this we have to come together and help where we can,” it said.
Ferguson, who was entering his fourth NFL season in Baltimore, was set to report to training camp in Owings Mills in late July. A third-round draft pick from Louisiana Tech, where he earned the nickname “Sack Daddy,” Ferguson holds the Football Bowl Subdivision record for career sacks with 45.
Over his 38 games and 10 starts with the Ravens, Ferguson had 67 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Ravens coaches and teammates, who said Ferguson was poised for a breakthrough season, described him as genuine and supportive.
“Jaylon was a good-hearted, gentle person who loved his family and his team,” coach John Harbaugh said in a statement released by the team last month. “He was a joy to talk with and be around every day. You always wanted to see and talk to ‘Ferg.’ Our prayers and our help go to his family. Our hearts are with his Spirit. R.I.P., Jaylon.”
Baltimore Police previously said officers responded around 11:30 p.m. June 21 to a home in the 400 block of Ilchester Avenue in Baltimore’s Harwood neighborhood on a report of a questionable death.
Police found Ferguson unresponsive and receiving treatment from medics, police said. He never regained consciousness and died at the scene, police spokeswoman Niki Fennoy said.