Dennis Byrd was an inspiration for far more than anything he ever accomplished on a football field.He was able to walk again.And with each step he took toward recovery from paralysis while guided by his always-present faith, Byrd defied doctors grim predictions and became a symbol of perseverance and hope.On Saturday, the former NFL defensive lineman whose career was ended by a neck injury, was killed in a car accident. He was 50.The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Byrd died in a two-vehicle collision on Oklahoma 88 north of Claremore.The Tulsa World first reported Byrds death. He starred at Mustang High School outside Oklahoma City and then at the University of Tulsa before playing for the New York Jets.We extend our sincere condolences to Dennis wife, Angela, their children and the entire Byrd family, said Dr. Derrick Gragg, Tulsas athletic director. Dennis exemplified true determination, tremendous heart and humility throughout his life. He had a tremendous playing career at TU and professionally with the New York Jets. He overcame great personal adversity after a life-altering injury on the football field.We know that Dennis touched numerous lives and will be missed by many.The Oologah-Talala Emergency Medical Services said the crash happened about 11 a.m. between Oologah and Claremore. It said a 17-year-old Claremore youth driving a 2000 Ford Explorer northbound on Oklahoma 88 veered into the oncoming lane, striking the 2004 Hummer H2 that Byrd was driving.Byrd, who had returned to his home in Talala in recent years, was pronounced dead at the scene, and the 17-year-old driver and a 12-year-old passenger in Byrds vehicle were taken in critical condition to Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa.The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Byrd was a second-round draft pick of the Jets in 1989 and quickly became a fan favorite for his intensity on the field as much as his humble, soft-spoken approach off it.He was considered one of the NFLs promising young defensive ends during his first three seasons, racking up 27 sacks -- a mark that only two players in franchise history surpassed: Mark Gastineau with 33 1/2 from 1979-81 and John Abraham with 27 1/2 from 2000-02.Byrd had one sack midway through his fourth season when his life was changed during a game on Nov. 29, 1992, against Kansas City.He broke his neck after slamming headfirst into the chest of teammate Scott Mersereau as Chiefs quarterback David Krieg stepped forward to avoid a sack. The impact broke the C-5 vertebra in Byrds neck, leaving him briefly paralyzed, although doctors were uncertain if Byrd would ever be able to walk again.After a vigorous rehabilitation over the next several months, Byrd returned to the Meadowlands for the Jets opening game the following season and walked -- gingerly but unaided -- to midfield as an honorary captain.He never fully recovered from the injury, walking with some difficulty and going through continuous rehabilitation during the years since. But Byrd, a devout Christian, wrote a book in 1993 called Rise and Walk: The Trial and Triumph of Dennis Byrd, which detailed how he relied on his faith and family to push through his injury to recover and serve an inspiration to others who went through similar situations.Byrds story was later made into a made-for-TV movie, with actor-director Peter Berg playing him.During the 2010 season, Byrd sent then-Jets coach Rex Ryan the No. 90 jersey that had been torn from his torso on the field after the collision as an inspirational gift.As a guest of the team, Byrd delivered a moving speech to the Jets at their hotel the night before a 28-21 playoff victory over the New England Patriots -- during which the Jets had hung Byrds jersey in their locker room.Running back LaDainian Tomlinson and safety James Ihedigbo also carried out a green and white No. 90 jersey to midfield for the coin toss before the game. Many Jets players credited Byrds speech for helping motivate them to the victory.Hearing about his story for the first time really makes you understand how fortunate we are and how fragile your career is, then-quarterback Mark Sanchez said at the time. These moments you have on the plane, hanging around in the locker room, having fun with guys, going to eat, playing on the field, its pretty special. It can end at any moment. That was just a good reminder for us of how fortunate we are.No Jets player has worn No. 90 since Byrd, and on Oct. 28, 2012, the team honored him at halftime of its game against Miami by making him the fifth player in franchise history to have his number retired.Mersereau introduced Byrd to the crowd, saying the most touching moment of his life came when he visited Byrd in the hospital and his teammate -- unable to walk at that time -- told him: Angie and I have been worried about you.Flanked by wife Angela and their four children, along with several of his former teammates, Byrd fought back tears while he was given a standing ovation by the fans at MetLife Stadium.I learned to be a man in Oklahoma, Byrd said, and I grew to be a man in New York.Every year, a Jets player is selected by his teammates to receive the Dennis Byrd Most Inspirational Player award.I really have loved coaching football and working with kids, talking about the lessons Ive learned as an athlete and the journey as someone with a disability, Byrd said in 2012. Football has always been, for me, a cornerpost of strength and a way to accomplish things in life, whether its on the field or just in maintaining a quality of life. All those lessons -- dedication, perseverance, teamwork -- they all dovetail nicely into living a blessed life.---Associated Press Writer Jeff McMurray in Chicago and AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken in Houston contributed to this report.---Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL Ernie Banks Jersey . - NASCAR announced a 33-race schedule for the 2014 Nationwide Series with virtually no changes from this years slate. Drew Smyly Jersey . The FA rejected Wilsheres appeal that the length of his punishment was "clearly excessive" and said Thursday his suspension begins with immediate effect. He will miss league matches against Chelsea on Monday and West Ham on Dec. http://www.thecubsteamshop.com/Cubs-Kris-Bryant-Kids-Jersey/ . -- There were so many positives from the Orlando Magics first victory of the season that it was hard for coach Jacque Vaughn to stop praising his players. Mark Grace Jersey . In taking its goal tally to 99 in all competitions already this season, City delivered another demonstration of its lethal firepower at Etihad Stadium to set up a fourth-round match at home to another second-tier team -- Watford. Sammy Sosa Jersey .In my heart and mind Im competing for India, luge competitor Shiva Keshavan told The Associated Press in an email interview. Every day Im flooded with messages from Indians all over the world telling me they are supporting me. It might have been overshadowed by the Shea Weber-P.K. Subban deal, but its possible that the New Jersey Devils offseason acquisition of former No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall from the?Edmonton Oilers?for emerging young defenseman Adam Larsson will end up being the most impactful offseason move in the league.The Devils, who are finally beginning to look like a Ray Shero team, hung around the edge of the playoff picture last season far longer than most had expected them to. But with?Michael Cammalleri?hurt, New Jersey lacked that go-to offensive guy, as it finished dead last in goals per game. In Hall the Devils have one of the top left wingers in the game. And, at age 24, he should be the centerpiece of New Jerseys offense for years to come. It cost him, but Shero has accelerated the process of rebuilding the barren cupboard he inherited when he became the Devils general manager in May 2015.We had to take a bit of a step back to be a better team, Shero said in a recent interview. We needed more talented players, younger players.Among the positive elements for New Jersey is ownership thats committed to winning and to spending to win, a sudden plethora of draft picks, and cap space. So stay tuned if the Devils are close come the trade deadline.Best new facesUm, did we mention Taylor Hall? Four times in his young career, Hall has topped 20 goals -- and now thats hes playing in a more structured offense, likely with his former Windsor Spitfires junior teammate?Adam Henrique, look for Hall to be north of 30, and maybe closer to 40, goals if he stays healthy.Shero didnt want to give up on Larsson, whose absence leaves a sizeable hole on the blue line, especially when you factor in the departure of the underappreciated David Schlemko. But look for a rejuvenated Ben Lovejoy, fresh off a steady turn for the Stanley Cup champion?Pittsburgh Penguins?last season, to help stabilize the blue line. Veteran Kyle Quincey was signed during training camp, adding to the teams blue-line depth.Beau Bennett, whom Shero drafted in Pittsburgh, may be looking at his last chance to revive his injury-marred career up front, while Vernon Fiddler, an important glue guy, could add veteran leadership on a team that shed a bevy of aging players, including?Tuomo Ruutu, Stephen Gionta and Jordin Tootoo, and presumably Patrik Elias, the Devils all-time leading scorer who is?still recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee and remains unsigned.ddddddddddddBiggest unknownsLets start with Cammalleri, who is reportedly at full strength after a wrist injury kept him out of action from the All-Star break on. His absence was a killer for a Devils team that was not particularly deep up front. When hes healthy, Cammalleri is one of the most creative, productive players in the game. But the 34-year-old has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. If hes in the lineup, the Devils offensive depth goes up exponentially.How will Hall fit in? He wasnt happy about being traded, and if you assume hes motivated to prove Edmonton wrong, this should be good news for New Jersey. Shero has been candid in saying he wished he didnt have to trade Larsson, who was finally emerging as a top-four defender. Now the Devils have to hope they can fill that gap by committee as the teams identity continues to coalesce.Sure thingsCory Schneider didnt get much of a shot for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey -- he played one period in the tournament -- but hes an elite netminder, and if the Devils are going to jump into the top eight in the Eastern Conference, Schneider will have to shoulder a mighty load. Schneiders U.S. teammate Kyle Palmieri had a breakout season for the Devils in 2015-16, scoring 30 times and adding 27 assists. He could get a look on the top line with Hall, but either way his work ethic and determination are as important to the team as is his goal production.OK, almost as important. The Devils were eighth in goals allowed per game and on the penalty kill and surprisingly ninth in power-play efficiency last season, a testament to the game plan implemented by first-year head coach John Hynes. Hynes comfort level with this team should increase his second year.PredictionThe Devils are close, maybe closer than people give them credit for being, and if they can stay healthy, theyre going to be in the hunt for a postseason berth next April. Sixth in the Metropolitan Division. Cheap Jerseys Store Cheap NFL T-shirts Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys White Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo Wholesale Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Outlet Cheap Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Hoodies Camo China NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo NFL Jerseys China ' ' '