Curtis Whitley, a former Carolina Panthers center, was found dead in Texas according to his family. Details of the cause of death are still unknown. The family informed the media that they were also awaiting further information.
The family learned of his death early Monday. The Charlotte Observer reported the following:
Family members said Monday night that they learned earlier in the day that Whitley, who turned 39 on Saturday, had been found dead in Texas, where he was living. They were awaiting details about the cause of his death.
Whitley started every game during the Panthers’ inaugural 1995 season, then made eight starts in ’96 before getting suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
He resurfaced with Oakland in 1997, but was suspended again before the ’98 season and didn’t play in the league again.
Whitley is a Smithfield native who played at Clemson. San Diego picked him in the fifth round of the 1992 NFL draft.
The Panthers chose him in the expansion draft. It was originally announced the 1996 suspension was alcohol-related, but Whitley later admitted he had inhaled crystal methamphetamine.
Whitley turned 39 this past Saturday.