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Does Khyree Jackson's tragic death highlight the need for better support systems for young athletes?

The Minnesota Vikings rookie CB, Khyree Jackson, passed away in a car accident. It came as a huge shocker for his fans since it was just this season that the rookie cornerback was to make his NFL debut. After playing with Alabama in his initial collegiate years, he swiftly flipped to Oregon in 2023, from where he entered the 2024 NFL draft. He piqued the interest of the Vikings, with the team selecting him as the 10th player in the fourth round.

The Minnesota Vikings social media account mourned the death of Jackson, saying, “Our thoughts are with Khyree’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, as well as all the victims of this tragic accident.” The owners of the franchise, Mark and Zygi Wilf, mourned his death, saying, “We are deeply saddened by the news of Khyree’s passing. We are thinking about Khyree’s family and friends and all members of the Minnesota Vikings following this devastating loss.”

Per ESPN, Jackson’s car suffered an unfortunate accident with two other cars, and two of his high school teammates also passed away. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell felt a ‘loss of words‘ after hearing about the major loss of their team, as he poured his grief out saying, “I am absolutely crushed by this news.”

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His former head coach at Oregon, Dan Lanning, sent out his prayers for Jackson’s family and remembered some golden moments he spent with the CB during the practice days and during the regular season, even though they were just together for 1 year. “RIP Khyree… Love you @Real_Khyree at a loss for words. I will miss your smile. Great player better person,” Lanning tweeted. After all, Jackson’s time with the Ducks, and before that with Coach Nick Saban, would always be remembered fondly since it was the last of football skills he got to flaunt before an unfortunate accident decided his fate.

Khyree Jackson’s career highlights

Jackson’s collegiate career has always been a surprising thing. Jackson got to start his first collegiate game in 2022 Alabama’s CFB Playoff Championship Game against Georgia, something that he didn’t get a chance to do in 6 years since he started his college career in 2017. Before the pandemic, Jackson had also tried his hand at Arizona Western College, which didn’t work out for him. Hence, he landed in Alabama post-pandemic.

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However, things did not look too great in Alabama since Jackson got to start a game only in his second-last year, that too at the very end of the regular season. It was assumed that the little action in Alabama might be a reason for it. Taking a stand against the claims, Jackson affirmed that his flip to Oregon during his last collegiate year was because of the close bond he shared with Coach Lanning. Jackson played in 12 games under Lanning’s guidance and recorded seven pass breakups, five tackles for loss, and two sacks.

Our condolences are with Khyree Jackson and his family.