Two Former NFL Players Each Charged With Murder On The Same Day


In less than 24 hours, two former NFL players have been charged in heinous crimes. 

On Wednesday, former NFL receiver and Florida State standout, Travis Rudolph, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm. 

Rudolph was arrested Wednesday morning after a double shooting in Palm Beach County. One man was pronounced dead while another was injured and taken to a local hospital. 

Rudolph signed with the New York Giants after three seasons at Florida State. He was the Seminoles leading receiving receiver in 2015 and 2016 and finished his career in Tallahassee with 2,311 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. After declaring for the draft after his junior season, Rudolph went undrafted but signed with the Giants where he caught eight passes for 101 yards in his lone season in New York. 

Rudolph made headlines in 2016 when he ate lunch and befriended a young boy with autism. He is scheduled to appear in court today. 

On the same day, in South Carolina, former NFL player Phillip Adams shot and killed five people in the town of Rock Hill, before committing suicide. 

First reported by the Associated Press, Adams killed Dr. Robert Lesslie, his wife Barbara, along with two of their young grandchildren Adah Lesslie and Noah Lesslie. 

A fifth man, James Lewis, was found shot to death outside. Lewis reportedly had been working at the home. A sixth individual was hospitalized with serious gunshot wounds. 

Adams was a former NFL defensive back who spent time with the 49ers, Patriots, Seahawks, Raiders, Jets and Falcons. 

The murders will undoubtedly raise questions around concussions and the potential effect they can have on players after their careers have ended. 

Adams reportedly suffered at least two concussions while playing for the Oakland Raiders in 2015. 

On Thursday, Alonzo Adams, Phillip’s father, told Charlotte, North Carolina station WCNC that he blames football for the actions Adams took. 

“I can say he’s a good kid,” Alonzo Adams said. “I think football messed him up”

In recent years, the NFL has made player safety a focal point. For old school fans, the NFL game has become almost unrecognizable. In 2019, the blindside block was eliminated from play. The rule makes it illegal for a blocker to initiate contact with the head, shoulder or forearm when “his path is toward or parallel to his own end line.” The kickoff rules were also adjusted for the 2018 season and became permanent in 2019. According to the NFL, the new rules resulted in a 35% decrease in concussions on kickoffs compared to the 2017 season. 

As the NFL and the medical community continue to learn more about concussions and CTE, more will have to be done to confront the growing crisis. Notorious ex-New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez, was found to have suffered from CTE — a degenerative brain disease common among football players which has been linked to violent outbursts and mental instability —   after a postmortem brain scan was administered following his 2017 death by suicide. Junior Seau, former San Diego Charger great and Hall of Famer, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest in his Oceanside, CA home in 2012. Seau’s brain was examined for signs of CTE and was found to suffer from abnormalities consistent with the disease. 

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