The Oakland Raiders announced last night that their former offensive linesman Mario Henderson has died. He was just 35 years old.
The Raiders made the announcement in a brief statement where they said everyone would miss his sense of humor and his passion for the game. They also said their prayers were with Mario’s family at this time. No cause of death has yet been revealed.
The statement read, “The Raiders Family is heavy hearted following the passing of Mario Henderson, who was a third-round draft pick and played four seasons with the Silver and Black.”
It continued: “Everyone will miss Mario’s sense of humor and passion for football and life. The prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with Mario’s family and loved ones at this time.”
Henderson played four seasons with Oakland from 2007 to 2010 and started 28 games. He started his college career at Florida State and joined the Raiders in a draft-day trade after being picked in the third round by the New England Patriots.
Mario Henderson played both football and basketball
Henderson was born in Fort Myers, Florida, in 1984, and attended Lehigh Senior High School. The school tweeted a statement about their former student saying they were shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of one of their most prominent alumni.
The school referred to him as a “two-sport athlete” who played both basketball and football. They finished their statement by calling him a “gentle giant who will be sorely missed.”
Tributes for Mario Henderson poured in on Twitter
Placekicker for the New York Giants, Graham Gano, was among the many who posted a tribute to Twitter. He called Mario a joy to talk to and described him as someone who “brought laughter wherever he went, saying, “My heart is hurting right now.”
Former cornerback and Raider DeMarcus Van Dyke tweeted, “RIP Mario Henderson! Solid dude man. Raider for life.”
NFLPA Former Players also tweeted their condolences and passed on their thoughts and prayers to Mario’s “family and friends at this difficult time.”
Former teammate Zach Miller also tweeted that he was “Very sad to hear about the passing of my teammate Mario Henderson. RIP. I will always remember sharing a room as rookies together in the Oakland Airport Hilton. My condolences to his family.”
Last year Eric Patterson, a former cornerback with the New England Patriots, lost his life after he was shot dead at his home in Tampa, Florida.
In 2009, Steve McNair, the famous quarterback at The Tennessee Titans, was murdered by his mistress, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi, in a murder/ suicide incident. Kazemi shot McNair dead in a Nashville apartment before turning the gun on herself.