IRVINE, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker paid tribute to former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler by wearing the jersey number of the four-time Academic All-American who was killed in a car accident in Wisconsin on July 23.
Hekker wore Sadler's No. 3 on Monday and will continue to do so during training camp to honor his friend and Nebraska punter Sam Foltz, who died in a single-vehicle crash after attending a kicking camp.
''Mike was a really, really special person,'' Hekker said. ''Think about all the lives he touched and Sam touched, they squeezed a lot of life into the years that they were here. They were a blessing to be around. Their legacy is going to live on through a lot of people.''
Hekker, who first met Sadler before his freshman season with the Spartans when they both worked out at a camp in Alabama, remembered a young man with a silly personality that belied his profound intellect and diligent work ethic.
''Just could light up a room,'' Hekker said of Sadler, who was planning to attend law school at Stanford this fall. ''Had more wit than an entire SNL cast. Was so smart, but didn't really flex his brain too much unless he had to.''
Michigan State recognized Sadler during an event at Spartan Stadium on Sunday and has established a scholarship fund in his name.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP-NFL