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Former NFL Player Cedric Killings Dies at 45

Photo: Larry W. Smith

Former NFL defensive tackle Cedric Killings died earlier this month at the age of 45 following a battle with lung cancer, his alma matter, Carson-Newman, announced in a news release.

"Cedric was a fantastic person, player, father, husband, teammate and most importantly, a man of God," said current Carson-Newman head football coach Mike Clowney, who was Killings' teammate during the Eagles' 1996 season. "We are praying for and grieve with Cedric's family during this difficult time."

Killings' wife, Shavon, announced her husband's death in a post shared on her Facebook account last Friday (June 23).

"My love, my best friend, my husband of 21 years is no longer physically with me but he lives in my heart and in the hearts of our 3 children," Shavon Killings wrote. "I'm comforted in knowing he is resting and no longer in pain, but I'm still at a loss and can't believe this is real. If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting him then you already know how special he is. Just an all around great person. I don't just say this as his wife, it's echoed by family, friends, and former teammates. It has been an honor to share life with him, and to love and be loved by him. So grateful for it all. Love you for life."

Killings was a four-time NCAA Division II All-American during his collegiate career at Carson-Newman, but went undrafted in 2000. The defensive tackle spent his NFL career with six different teams including the San Francisco 49ers (2000), Cleveland Browns (2001), Carolina Panthers (2001), Minnesota Vikings (2002-03), now-Washington Commanders (2004-05) and Houston Texans (2006-07).

Killings experienced a career-ending injury when he was involved in a head-to-head collision during a game against the Indianapolis Colts on September 23, 2007. The former Carson-Newman standout suffered a fractured vertebra, as well as a deep cut under his right eye.

Killings' vertebrae injury led to the NFL's rule change that prohibited more than two receiving team players from being within two yards from each other on the same line after the ball has been kicked.

Killings was inducted into the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame in 2018.

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