Baltimore Police investigating ‘questionable’ death of Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson

Published on: June 23, 2022 11:51 AM EDT|Updated on: July 01, 2022 11:22 AM EDT

OLB Jaylon Ferguson (45) died Tuesday night June 21, 2022, at the age of 26.

Baltimore Police are investigating the death Tuesday night of 26-year-old Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson.

A source says it is a suspected accidental overdose based on items found at the scene.

A police spokeswoman called the death “questionable,” but said there were no signs of foul play or trauma to his body. Additional information was not immediately available, and the death investigation has been referred to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

“I can say that we are not ruling anything out,” Baltimore police spokesperson Lindsey Eldridge said. “We don’t determine cause of death, but we consider the possibility that it could be an overdose.”

Police were called around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday to the 400 block of Ilchester Avenue in North Baltimore where they found Ferguson.

A friend who found Ferguson unresponsive told police at the scene that Ferguson had told him earlier in the night that he was “xanied up,” referring to the prescription drug Xanax, according to a law enforcement source who asked not to be identified because autopsy results have not been released. Xanax is the brand name of the drug alprazolam, which is used to treat panic disorders and anxiety.

Ferguson had been going through a difficult time after the recent death of his grandmother and a fire at his home in Owings Mills, and was suffering from depression, the friend said, according to the source.

The Ravens announced Ferguson’s death Wednesday morning.

“We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” according to a statement from the team. “He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon.”

Tributes and condolences poured in from Ferguson’s teammates on Twitter.

“Always had REAL convo’s!! Joked together, laughed together, prayed together, fought on the field together!! Just a genuine spirit. Love this man! Will miss you bro,” linebacker Josh Bynes tweeted.

From guard Ben Cleveland: “Hug your loved ones every chance you get. Rest easy, brother.”

From fullback Patrick Ricard: “I can’t believe this. Just absolutely tragic. RIP.”

A third-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in 2019, Ferguson played in 38 games with the Ravens, including 10 starts, and recorded 67 tackles and 4.5 sacks over three seasons.

Hank Williams, 54, has lived across the street from the Waverly Shopping Center in the Harwood neighborhood for more than 50 years. He was outside and saw the ambulance and police arrive and stay on the scene about three hours.

Ferguson’s body was found in a neighborhood in the midst of change. Marvin Reed, 64, who has been in and out of his childhood family home for the past 40 years, explained that there are lots of elders in the neighborhood, but younger people are moving in.

“The dichotomy of this neighborhood is that most of the pressure that we get is coming from Greenmount, but then when you go to Guilford ... the complexion of this neighborhood just changes,” Reed said.

“It’s just uncanny. When you’re here there’s trash everywhere. But two blocks over — you’re in Charles Village — and you can’t find a gum wrapper in the street, and it separates,” Reed added.

According to Reed, the 400 block of Ilchester has generally been a “quiet” neighborhood. But as older residents age out, younger homeowners are changing the demographics and activity that takes place around the area.

“We have homeowners in the neighborhood, but they’re dying off. And the young folks are coming in, and they just don’t seem to give a damn,” Williams said.

Reporter Tim Prudente contributed to this article.