Former NFL fullback Kevin Turner died Thursday at age 46, after a six-year fight with ALS.
After eight seasons with the Patriots and Eagles from 1992–1999, Turner was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2010. He was an active figure in ALS research, starting a foundation to raise money for the cause, and also looking for links between CTE, ALS, and football-related head trauma. He maintained a stance that football played a role in his condition and was a plaintiff in the large-scale concussion lawsuit filed by retired players against the NFL. Turner said that if he had known the risks of the sport, he would have retired and quit playing entirely.
“We lost a special person today in Kevin Turner,” said Eagles CEO Jeffrey Lurie in a statement. “He was extremely courageous and inspiring throughout his life. I will never forget how excited we were when we signed him in 1995 and how valuable of a player he was leading the way for [running backs] Ricky Watters, Charlie Garner and Duce Staley. But as good of a football player as he was, he was even a better man. His high character, kindness and respectful nature stood out to me the most. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
“Myra and I lost a great son today. He will be missed so much,” his father, Raymond Turner, wrote in a Facebook post. “Thanks to everyone so very much for your support and prayers during this journey. He was ready to go to Heaven, excited he said, Love y'all and God Bless.”
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and running backs coach Duce Staley were teammates of Turner’s in Philadelphia and also shared their condolences in official statements. Other former Eagles players including Brian Dawkins and Donovan McNabb also tweeted in remembrance of their teammate.
Turner played in college at Alabama and was a third-round selection by the Patriots in 1992.