Former Michigan State wide receiver Charles Rogers has died, multiple outlets have confirmed. He was 38 years old.
The Saginaw, Mich., native played wide receiver for the Spartans from 2000-02, where it became instantly apparent that he was one of the most talented wide receivers in Michigan State history. In three seasons in green and white, Rogers caught 135 passes for 2,821 yards and 27 touchdowns. Rogers was a First Team All-Big Ten honoree in 2001 and ’02, and in 2002 he was a unanimous All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wideout.
“I’ll tell you, he was — and I’m including Flint, too, since I coached at Flint Northern all those years — he’s the best athlete I ever seen. I mean, honestly,” Rogers’ high school coach Don Durrett told the Detroit Free Press. “We’re talking about basketball, football and track together. He could have had a scholarship in all three sports. That’s how good. … I haven’t seen nobody that fast that could do it all. He was just a blessed athlete that could do it all.”
His catch to help secure a win over Notre Dame in 2001 is one of the most memorable plays in Michigan State history.
Rogers was the No. 2 pick in the 2003 NFL draft, but injury and substance abuse issues chased him out of the league after just three seasons.
He continued to battle with substance abuse issues throughout his life, and in 2010 a judge ordered him to return $6.1 million of a $9.1 million signing bonus to the Detroit Lions for breach of contract for violating the league’s substance policy. The Lansing State Journal found Rogers living in Fort Myers, Fla., in 2017, where he said of that judgment, “I ain’t got nothing to pay them.”
“Devastated to learn of the passing of my spartan brother Charles (Rogers),” former Michigan State tight end Chris Baker tweeted Monday. “Spoke with his mom this morning. Please pray for her and his children. Please also be respectful of their privacy at this difficult time. Rip Chuck.”
Details of Rogers’ death have not been released at this time.