Former Auburn and NFL tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen passed away Sunday in an auto accident in Georgia, according to the school’s athletic department and other published reports.
According to USA Today, the 23-year-old Lutzenkirchen was a passenger in an auto that overturned outside of LaGrange, Georgia. The driver also perished in the accident, according to the report.
Lutzenkirchen played for Auburn from 2009 through 2012. He caught five TD passes for the school’s national title winning club of 2010, including the game-winner against rival Alabama.
“I came to know Philip well and I admired everything about who he was and the way he lived his life,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement issued by the school on Sunday. “He had a strong faith, a big heart and a burning desire to help others. Philip was a bright light this world desperately needed, and his death leaves a void that can’t possibly be filled. My prayers, my thoughts and my heart go out to his wonderful parents, Mike and Mary, their entire family and his many grieving friends.”
Lutzenkirchen signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent last spring but was waived at the end of August.
UPDATE 5:08 p.m. ET: The Rams issued a statement from G.M. Les Snead on Sunday. “I’m saddened to learn of the passing of Philip Lutzenkirchen,” Snead said. “During his brief time with the Rams, Philip was a consummate pro. On behalf of the St. Louis Rams organization, we would like to send our condolences to his family. As an Auburn alum myself and with Coach Fisher’s ties to the university through his son Trent and daughter Tara, we join the Tigers in grieving this tragic loss.”