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Sports

NFL mourns inspirational former player Dennis Byrd

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Opening sequence

Sports

NFL mourns inspirational former player Dennis Byrd

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COMING UP:NFL mourns inspirational former player Dennis Byrd

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Transcript

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>> The sports world on Sunday, mourning the death of former pro football player Dennis Byrd. The ex New York Jet, once a promising defensive end, later a symbol of hope for surviving a devastating spine injury. But at age 50, his is now a life cut short. Byrd's Hummer on Saturday hit head on by an SUV near his home Hometown of Talala, Oklahoma.
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Byrd was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV, age 17, along with a 12 year old in Byrd's car are in critical condition. Byrd, a second round draft pick from the University of Tulsa back in 1989, was in his fourth season with the Jets when he collided with a teammate while trying to sack the opposing quarterback.
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The impact broke a vertebrae in Bird's neck, leaving him briefly paralyzed and doctors unsure he'd ever walk again. After rigorous rehabilitation he defied the odds, taking small steps just weeks after his injury. Byrd later chronicling his recovery in a stirring memoir which was later adapted for TV. The Jets retired Byrd's number 90 jersey in 2012, and have given a Dennis Byrd award to it's most inspirational player every year since 1992.