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Former Baltimore Ravens running back dies at age 28

DANIEL OYEFUSI
The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Miami Dolphins players attempt to tackle Baltimore Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (34), during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro has died at age 28, the York-Poquoson County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia announced Wednesday night.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies were dispatched to the 100 block of Windsor Lane at approximately 3:07 p.m. Wednesday for a call of someone needing medical attention. Medics also arrived and transported the patient to a local hospital where he later died. The office did not disclose a cause of death.

Taliaferro, a Yorktown, Virginia, native, was selected by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft. A former Coastal Carolina standout who was named Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a Walter Payton Award finalist, Taliaferro spent three years in the NFL, all with the Ravens, rushing for 339 yards and five touchdowns.

The Ravens released Taliaferro before the start of the 2017 season and he had a brief stint with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League in 2018.

On Wednesday night, former teammates and members of the Coastal Carolina and Yorktown community paid their respects to Taliaferro on social media.

Taliaferro was a 205-pound fullback at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 2010 and 2011 before transferring to Coastal Carolina. He later said the experience helped him develop the toughness, stamina and blocking skills to emerge as a running back, and he rushed for 292 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie in 2014 for the playoff-bound Ravens.

This is a photo of Lorenzo Taliaferro of the Baltimore Ravens NFL football team. This image reflects the Baltimore Ravens active roster as of Thursday, June 22, 2017. (AP Photo)

“I probably was a free agent without pass blocking,” Taliaferro said in 2017. “The ability to be a great pass protector is what got me drafted.”

He ended each season with the Ravens on injured reserve, battling foot, knee and thigh injuries. During training camp in 2017, he switched positions from running back to fullback to try to find a consistent role in the offense.

“Blocking, that has always been my strong point, like pass protection,” said Taliaferro, who was cut before the season started in September. “It’s technique to it, but it’s more of a will. If you’re willing to stick your nose in there and get dirty and protect the million dollar man and the guys behind him, that’s all it’s about. I don’t think there’s too much learning. It’s just about willpower.”

Taliaferro starred on the Bruton High School football team that reached the 2009 Group AA Division 3 state final.

As a senior at Bruton, Taliaferro ran for 1,678 yards and 21 touchdowns while also starring at linebacker. Bruton, then one of the smallest AA schools in the state, lost to Northside of Roanoke, 20-17, in the Division 3 championship game when its game-tying field goal attempt was blocked on the final play.

The school retired Taliaferro’s jersey in 2015.