LOS ANGELES – Former NFL defensive lineman Al Lucas (search) died Sunday from a presumed spinal cord injury sustained while trying to make a tackle for the Los Angeles Avengers (search) during an Arena Football League game, the team said.
Lucas was taken to California Hospital (search) and all attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, team physician Dr. Luga Podesta said in a statement.
A call to a California Hospital spokesman was not immediately returned.
"It is with great sadness that we confirm the passing of Al Lucas. At this time, the thoughts and prayers of the entire Avenger organization are with his wife and family," team owner and chief executive officer Casey Wasserman said in a statement.
The 26-year-old Lucas was injured during a first-quarter kickoff return against the New York Dragons.
The 6-foot-1, 300-pound lineman played two seasons (2000-01) for the Carolina Panthers, recording 491/2 tackles in 20 games. He attended Troy State from 1996-99 and won the Buck Buchanan Award his senior season as the top defensive player in Division I-AA. In 43 games at Troy State he had 255 tackles and 111/2 sacks.
He was selected to the Arena League's All-Rookie team in 2003 while playing for Tampa Bay.
"Al Lucas played arena football with passion and integrity. The entire AFL family extends its deepest sympathies to Al's wife and family as well as his friends, family and teammates," commissioner David Baker said in a statement.
Lucas was married to De-Shonda Lucas and had a daughter, Mariah.