Sooners Legend, Ex-NFL Star Rickey Dixon Dead at 53

Parker Thune

Per a tweet from former Sooners coach Barry Switzer on Saturday afternoon, former Oklahoma standout defensive back Rickey Dixon has died.

Dixon, 53, had battled ALS over the final years of his life, and had also been a prominent figure in the class-action concussions lawsuit against the NFL.

Dixon, a native of Dallas, was a key contributor to Oklahoma's 1985 national championship team as a sophomore. A four-year starter at safety, he roamed the defensive backfield with reckless abandon for some of Barry Switzer's finest Sooner teams.

In 1987, Dixon intercepted nine passes - a school record that still stands - and earned consensus All-American honors. He also became the first Sooner to win the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. Roy Williams (2001) and Derrick Strait (2003) have since joined Oklahoma's fraternity of Thorpe winners.

After becoming the fifth overall pick in the 1988 NFL draft, Dixon spent five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and one season with the Los Angeles Raiders. Upon the conclusion of his playing career, he returned to Texas to become a physical education teacher.

Dixon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

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