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Oklahoma Man Charged With Manslaughter In Dennis Byrd Death

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma man has been charged with manslaughter almost a year after a car collision killed former Jets defensive lineman Dennis Byrd.

Rogers County court records indicate the charge was filed Wednesday against 18-year-old Zachary Reed of Claremore. The records show a warrant was issued for Reed’s arrest but don’t indicate whether he is represented by an attorney.

Byrd was 50 when he died Oct. 15 after a two-vehicle crash north of Claremore, a Tulsa suburb. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said at the time that a northbound vehicle driven by Reed veered into the oncoming lane and struck a vehicle driven by Byrd.

A second-round draft pick out of Tulsa, Byrd played for the Jets from 1989-92. On Nov. 29, 1992, against Kansas City, he broke his neck after slamming headfirst into the chest of teammate Scott Mersereau as Chiefs quarterback David Krieg stepped forward to avoid a sack. The impact broke the C-5 vertebra in Byrd’s neck, leaving him paralyzed, and doctors were uncertain if Byrd would ever be able to walk again.

Dennis Byrd (Photo by Mike Powell/Allsport)

Byrd underwent intense rehabilitation and returned to the Meadowlands for the Jets’ opening game the following season and walked — gingerly but unaided — to midfield as an honorary captain. His No. 90 was retired by the Jets in 2012, and players vote every season for a teammate to receive the Dennis Byrd Most Inspirational Player award.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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