Former pro football player dies of apparent overdose He worked as a state correctional officer

February 12, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer Metropolitan staff member Nathan Pitts contributed to this article.

A suspended state correctional officer who was once a star football player at Morgan State University and played briefly with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Colts died Wednesday of an apparent drug overdose, city police reported.

Stanley D. Cherry, 42, died at Mercy Medical Center shortly after police took him into custody in the 900 block of Guilford Ave.

RTC Officers were dispatched to the area about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday after receiving reports that a man was "running through the neighborhood screaming and taking off his clothes," said Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman.

Before police arrived at the scene, a motorist stopped to assist Mr. Cherry. But the motorist fled on foot after Mr. Cherry jumped into the vehicle.

When police arrived, they discovered Mr. Cherry sitting in the car clad only in his underwear, Mr. Ringgold said.

Paramedics were called after Mr. Cherry lapsed into unconsciousness, an apparent victim of cardiac arrest. He died a short time later at Mercy Medical Center, Mr. Ringgold said.

A syringe and a glassine bag containing white powder suspected of being heroin or cocaine were found with Mr. Cherry, police said.

Mr. Ringgold said a complete autopsy, including toxicology tests, is being conducted to determine the cause of death.

Cpl. J. Scott McCauley, a corrections spokesman, said Mr. Cherry, a resident of the 800 block of St. Paul St., began his employment with the state correctional system on May 3, 1978. He was assigned to the Maryland Penitentiary.

Mr. Cherry was transferred to the Supermax on April 20, 1988, Mr. McCauley said. The Supermax houses some of the state's most dangerous inmates.

A police source said the victim had been suspended recently for allegedly using excessive force at the correctional facility.

Mr. Cherry graduated in 1972 from what was then Morgan State College, where he was a star linebacker. He suffered a back injury and was not selected in the college draft.

In 1973, he signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots. He was cut a month later and signed immediately by the Baltimore Colts. The Colts cut him after a brief tryout, but the team took him back in October 1973.

He stayed with the Colts until August 1974, when he was cut again during training camp.

While playing with the Baltimore Colts, he was reunited with two of his college teammates, running back John Sykes and Raymond Chester, who went on to become an all-pro tight end.

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