Ex-NFL player Darren Lewis dead at 55: Former Texas A&M star dies from cancer amid troubled past

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Ex-NFL player and Texas A&M all-time leading rusher Darren Lewis has died at age 55 from cancer, the university announced on Friday, roughly a year after being granted compassionate release following a 27-year jail sentence for several armed robberies.

The university did not reveal how it learned of Lewis' death. The former two-time All-American running back, who remains the top rusher of the Southwest Conference, struggled with a cocaine addiction after football as he also went through a divorce and the loss of his house by 1995.

He was sent to prison more than once, the last time in August 2014 when he pleaded guilty to three criminal charges related to armed robberies near Dallas in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He was subsequently given a 27-year term in federal prison.

While playing for four seasons on the Aggies between 1987 and 1990, Lewis ran for 5,012 yards. His college career was highlighted by a 1,692-yard season in 1988. He also rushed for 1,691 yards in 1990.

In 1988 he was the Southwest Conference Player of the Year and named to his first All-America team. He was the second-leading rusher in the country that season behind Barry Sanders, who ran for 2,628 yards.

The two-time All American was arrested after a string of robberies in the Dallas area in the early 2000s
He was drafted as a sixth round pick by the Chicago Bears after he was the only player to have tested positive at the 1991 NFL Combine. He was supposed to be a top 20 pick...

Former NFL and Texas A&M running back Darren Lewis died from cancer diagnosed in jail

Despite his legal issues and problem with addiction, Lewis made history while playing for A&M

Despite his legal issues and problem with addiction, Lewis made history while playing for A&M

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Nicknamed 'Tank,' Lewis finished tied for eighth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1990 when he broke the Southwest Conference career rushing record previously held by SMU's Eric Dickerson, who ran for 4,450 yards. That season earned him his second All-America honor.

Lewis was selected in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears and played for them for three seasons. His stock fell in the draft after he was the only player to have tested positive for drugs at the league's combine.

Born in Dallas, Lewis played at local power Carter High School and went on to Texas A&M. He had the top two rushing seasons for the Aggies before Trayveon Williams broke his record, rushing for 1,760 in 2018.

The Texas A&M Aggies shared a heartfelt post announcing Lewis' death, Friday, on Instagram

The Texas A&M Aggies shared a heartfelt post announcing Lewis' death, Friday, on Instagram

Lewis' 5,012 career rushing yards ranked him fifth on the NCAA's all-time rushing list at the conclusion of his college career.

He never tested positive after being drafted by the Bears. He played in 33 games with five starts, rushing for 431 yards.

His cancer was diagnosed while he was in prison in Pollock, Louisiana. Lewis was allowed to leave for medical treatment.

He recently entered hospice care, according to several published reports.

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