A deadly shooting in Florida has claimed the life of a former college football and NFL player.
According to ABC Action News, 26-year-old former linebacker Eric Patterson was killed in a shooting in the Riverside Heights neighborhood of Tampa Bay on Saturday morning. Per the report, detectives are investigating the killing.
Patterson played for Ball State in college and signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He was released in June of that year and signed with the Indianapolis Colts, where he had two tackles.
In late-September he was cut from the Colts and signed with the Rams, recording one more tackle before being cut at the end of the season.
He was briefly signed to the Cleveland Browns in 2016 but was released in September and has not played professional football since.
Tributes from across the football landscape have come out for Patterson.
Hall of Fame NFL coach Tony Dungy revealed that his son was a teammate of Patterson’s at Plant High School.
Eric Patterson played at Plant HS with our son Eric. We have heard the story that he was killed but there is no official confirmation and nothing being reported on our news here. Our son is distraught but we cannot find any information either. https://t.co/G1LltMP6ke
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) June 9, 2019
Los Angeles Rams superstar Todd Gurley, who entered the league in the same year as Patterson, similarly tweeted a tribute to his former teammate.
— Todd Gurley II (@TG3II) June 8, 2019
Ball State head coach Mike Neu also announced that the team was mourning Patterson’s death.
We are mourning the passing of one of our own, Eric Patterson. We are extremely saddened by this, and we ask that you please keep Eric and his family in your prayers.
— Coach Mike Neu (@BSUCoachNeu) June 10, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Patterson’s family and loved ones.