John Thierry, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft, has died at the age of 46.
Alcorn State, Thierry’s alma mater, announced the news in a Twitter post. According to the Chicago Tribune, Marcus Spears wrote on social media that Thierry suffered a heart attack. Spears, a former Bears offensive lineman, played on the Bears with Thierry from 1994 to 1996.
Thierry was picked by the Bears with the 11th overall pick in 1994 and played 73 games (28 starts) with Chicago from 1994 to 1998. He came up with 12.5 sacks, a safety, an interception, four forced fumbles, and for more fumble recoveries during his Bears career. Thierry was more productive after leaving the Bears, picking up 21 sacks in four seasons while making stops with the Cleveland Browns (1999), Green Bay Packers (2000-01), and Atlanta Falcons (2002). He finished with 33.5 sacks in 131 career games.
Thierry was named one of the top-50 players in Alcorn State history, checking in at No. 27. In his senior season, Thierry finished second on the team with 119 tackles, picked up nine sacks, and four deflected passes. Thierry’s dominance of the SWAC as a senior led him to be named All-SWAC First-Team Defense and to the NCAA All-American second team. He ran a remarkable 4.4 40-yard-dash, boosting his draft stock and cementing his status as a first-round pick.