Michigan State Legend Charles Rogers Dies at 38

22 Sep 2001:  Charles Rogers #1 of the Michigan State Spartans runs with the ball during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. The Spartans defeated the Fighting Irish 17-10.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
Charles Rogers #1 | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Former All-American wide receiver Charles Rogers has died at the age of 38, the Detroit Free Press reports. Friends said he had been battling liver disease and cancer. Rogers was the most electric player in college football in 2002-2003, catching 135 passes for 2,821 yards and a Michigan State school-record 27 touchdowns.

Rogers appeared destined for greatness when the Detroit Lions took him with the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, but his career was derailed by personal issues. He was the subject of an impeccably reported and powerful Lansing State Journal profile in 2017 that detailed his struggles.

This is the tragic end of what one the most compelling what-if stories in recent sports history. Rogers was only a household name for a brief period, but those who saw him play were absolutely spellbound by the sheer athleticism and potential.