Frank Wycheck, Former Tennessee Titans Tight End, Dead at 52
Former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck died at his home in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Saturday (Dec. 9), according to a statement from his publicity team and his family. He was 52 years old.
According to the statement, Wycheck appears to have fallen and hit his head at some point on Saturday morning. He was discovered unresponsive that afternoon. No further information is currently available about his death.
A native of Philadelphia, Penn., Wycheck began his career as a college football player for the University of Maryland. He played 11 seasons of professional football for the Washington Redskins and the Tennessee Titans.
During his time with the Titans, according to TitansWire, he was a key player in the legendary "Music City Miracle" play, which happened during a playoff game between the Titans and the Buffalo Bills during the 1999-2000 season. The Bills had a 16-15 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the game, and Wycheck threw a lateral pass to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, who ran 75 yards and scored a touchdown to win the game.
Following his career as a player, Wycheck worked first as a sports show host and then as a color commentator. He stepped down from that role in 2017 due to lingering, head-related medical issues from his time on the field.
That same year, he gave an interview to ESPN saying that he believed he had incurred chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE.) According to the Mayo Clinic, CTE is "a brain disorder likely caused by repeated head injuries." It's thought that the condition can cause problems with behavior, thinking and emotions, and that its symptoms typically worsen over time. The condition is rare in the general population, and most frequently associated with professional athletes or those exposed to military combat. There is no definitive way to diagnose CTE during a person's lifetime, but it can be discovered during postmortem examinations of the brain.
The Wycheck family's statement indicates that, in accordance with his wishes, they plan to "work with experts for on-going brain injury (TBI) and CTE research."
Wycheck is survived by two adult daughters, Deanna and Madison, and three grandchildren: Leo, Stevie and August. He moved to Chattanooga, Tenn. to be closer to family this summer. No information about funeral services is available at this time.
In their statement, the Wycheck family expressed their appreciation for "the love and support they've received" from fans; however, they requested privacy from the public during this time.
Note: On Saturday, a deadly tornado claimed the lives of six people in middle Tennessee and injured at least 23 more. Chattanooga was under a tornado warning on Saturday night beginning at 8:45PM. There is no indication that Wycheck's death was in any way connected to the storms.
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