Terry Beasley, a star receiver at Auburn who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, died of an apparent suicide at the age of 73, according to police.
Moody Police (Ala.) Chief Reece Smith told The Associated Press Beasley’s case is being investigated as a potential suicide following his death at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday.
“We got a call at 5:20 (Wednesday) afternoon, and officers found Mr. Beasley with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Smith said Thursday.
Beasley has dealt with the effects of numerous concussions from his football past.
He was an All-American during his time with the Tigers in 1970 and 1971 and is most remembered for being Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Pat Sullivan’s favorite target.
Beasley caught 52 passes for 1,051 yards with 11 touchdowns, while rushing for one touchdown and 95 yards during the 1970 campaign. He followed that up with a career-high 12 receiving touchdowns and 846 yards in 1971.
“Pat Sullivan was the leader, the quarterback, the Heisman Trophy winner, but the guy who made that whole passing game go was Beasley,” former Auburn athletic director and sports information director David Housel said in a post by Auburn remembering Beasley. “He is an Auburn legend. He is the standard by which all other Auburn receivers will be measured.”
Beasley’s 2,507 yards and 29 touchdowns remain school records in a three-year career.
“He would tell Pat, ‘You throw it, I’ll get it,'” Housel said. “That’s the way it was. He’d run under it and make impossible catches.”
Former teammate Terry Henley added, “Terry’s hands were little, but he had this grip on the ball when it came close to him that he was going to get the ball one way or another. You weren’t going to pull it away from him.
“I marveled at the way he could explode after one step. One step and he was gone. It didn’t take two.”
Beasley was a first-round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers, playing in the Bay Area for just three seasons before retiring in 1975 due to injuries.
Beasley was later a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the NFL on the effects of brain injuries, which was settled in 2016. Beasley claimed he suffered from memory loss, anxiety, headaches and sleeplessness due to football-related injuries.
In 2022, Beasley was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. His No. 88 jersey was retired by Auburn. It’s one of just three numbers to receive that honor, in addition to Sullivan’s No. 7 and Bo Jackson’s No. 34.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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