Former Carolina Panthers cornerback Rashard Anderson has died at the age of 45.
Jackson State University, Anderson's alma mater, issued a statement Wednesday about the Mississippi native's death:
"Today is a sad day for the JSU family. Rashard was one of the best players in the history of our football program and an outstanding person. He attended our spring football game in April and was excited about the program returning to championship status. Rashard will always be remembered by Jackson State University, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."
A cause of death has not been announced at time of publish.
Anderson played four seasons at Jackson State from 1996 to 1999. He helped the Tigers win the Southwestern Athletic Conference title during his freshman campaign. The program also made the I-AA playoffs in each of his first two years.
Along with teammate Sylvester Morris, Anderson was a first-round pick in the 2000 NFL draft. The Panthers used the No. 23 selection on the cornerback.
Anderson appeared in 27 games with the Panthers over two seasons. He recorded five pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble in 15 appearances (nine starts) in 2001.
After being released by the Panthers following the 2003 season, Anderson signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in May 2005. He was released before appearing in a game with the club.
Anderson is one of only seven Jackson State alums to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft. He and Morris are the second pair of Tigers teammates to be selected in the first round (Walter Payton and Robert Brazile in 1975).
Anderson remains the last Jackson State alum to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft.