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Kenyatta Jones, former NFL player and USF's first draft pick, dies at 39

"Just a fun-loving guy, man, like a gentle giant," one of his former teammates told the Tampa Bay Times.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Kenyatta Jones, the University of South Florida's first-ever NFL draft pick, has died at the age of 39.

Jones' mother told the Tampa Bay Times he died of cardiac arrest in Colorado.

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Jones played four seasons for the Bulls. He was selected in the fourth round by the New England Patriots in 2001 and despite limited play time, he earned a Super Bowl ring later that season.

"Just a fun-loving guy, man, like a gentle giant," said former Bulls FB Keith Williams to the Tampa Bay Times. He was a teammate of Mr. Jones on USF's inaugural 1997 team.

"But on that field, he took care of business."

“It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Kenyatta Jones at such an early age,” USF Interim Director of Athletics Scott Kull said. “Our first NFL Draft pick and Super Bowl champion, Kenyatta demonstrated what USF football would become and was the first of what would be many talented and hard-working Bulls that have followed their dreams to the professional ranks. Our thoughts and prayers and those of Bulls Nation are with his family during this difficult time.”

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