Former first-rounder John Thierry dies at 46

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Former NFL defensive end John Thierry, a first-round pick in 1994, died Friday of a heart attack. He was 46.

Thierry was drafted by the Bears, and he played in Chicago for five years.

“The Chicago Bears offer their deepest condolences on the passing of former linebacker John Thierry,” the team said in a statement released Saturday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to John and his family.”

“When we drafted John we believed we were getting as good a person as football player,” former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt said, via the Chicago Sun-Times.  “My thoughts go out to John’s family.”

Thierry started 28 of 73 games with the Bears. Per the Sun-Times, he still holds the team record for recovering three fumbles in one game.

After leaving the Bears as a free agent, Thierry spent one season with the Browns, two with the Packers, and one with the Falcons. He had 33.5 total sacks during his nine-year career. His career high came in 1999, with seven sacks for the Browns.

In 2000, Thierry started all 16 games for the Packers.

We extend our condolences to Thierry’s family, friends, teammates, and coaches.