Charles Rogers, former Detroit Lions wide receiver, dies at 38

Rogers played only 15 games over three seasons with the Lions, who drafted him with the second overall pick in 2003.
Charles Rogers
Charles Rogers during a game in 2003.Joe Robbins / Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers has died, according to the team. He was 38.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Rogers. From Saginaw, to East Lansing, to Detroit, Charles’ connection to the state of Michigan and its football community was felt by many during the course of his life," a statement from the Lions said. "We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time.”

Rogers played only 15 games over three seasons with the Lions, who drafted him with the second overall pick in 2003. He was released in 2006 after injuries and suspensions for substance abuse.

His name often appears on "Biggest Busts in NFL Draft History" lists.

But he was regarded as one of the best receivers during his time at Michigan State, where he consistently made history, including becoming only the second receiver in school history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

Rogers was less successful on the Lions, failing drug tests and getting sidelined by broken bones.

He told the Lansing State Journal in 2017 that it was the injuries and a Vicodin addiction that prematurely ended his career, not smoking marijuana. At the time, he was working at an auto repair shop in Florida and still smoking.

“Everybody knew I smoked. It wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t even hinder my play," he said. "I get to Detroit, it’s a whole different story. I understand it."

Following his time with the Lions, Rogers was arrested on assault and battery charges that were later dropped. He had also been arrested in 2012 for threatening his mother. He faced subsequent drug and alcohol charges and probation violations.

Rogers is survived by his children. A cause of death was not immediately clear Monday.