Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died at the age of 26, his team announced Wednesday in a statement.
“He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality,” the statement reads.
His death is made all the more shocking because of his young age. However, the cause remains unclear.
Jaylon Ferguson is survived by three kids and wife and baby mama Doni Smith. What do we know about their relationship and home life, and what words of consolation have people offered the family following Jaylon’s passing?
Who is Jaylon Ferguson’s wife Doni?
Doni’s catering business was recently featured on Zola’s list of recommended wedding vendors.
Based in Owings Mills, Maryland, JOF Catering offers consultations and tastings, delivery and setup, cleanup and breakdown, and serving staff for weddings.
Head chef Doni – wife of late Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson – grew up enjoying great food. She told Zola that, as a child, her aunt would take her to fancy restaurants in Beverly Hills.
“I never thought I would turn out to be a great cook, but my friends always seem to enjoy it.”
How did they meet, and do they have kids?
Doni Smith and her late husband Jaylon Ferguson met in college. They were both studying at Louisiana Tech, where Ferguson went on to be a third-round pick by the Ravens in the 2019 NFL draft.
His “favourite thing in the world”, Doni says, “was food”.
Now they have three children. Their firstborn, a boy, arrived in November 2017; Doni gave birth to their second child, a daughter, in May 2019.
When Doni last updated her personal website, she was “expecting another sweet baby” – she now appears to have given birth a third time. Jrea Oneis, Joyce O’Neal and the couple’s third child regularly feature in Jaylon Ferguson and his wife Doni Smith’s social media posts.
She tweeted a picture of all five of them on 16 January 2022, captioned, “World we created”. She celebrates her birthday on 28 October.
Where did Doni Smith grow up?
Doni grew up in California, during which time she became acquainted with a plethora of cuisines including Louisiana, Mexican and Southern.
Professionally, her goal is “to satisfy my client’s taste buds”. She promises a memorable culinary experience and comes recommended via a verified review.
Jaylon told PennLive in November 2019 that his family provides the motivation he needs to be both an easygoing father and “merciless pass rusher” – once he slides on shoulder pads.
“When I’m off the field, I’m just really, really calm, because I don’t see no reason to be riled up all the time,” he said. “On the field, I got people I can’t let down. That’s how I work. That’s how I eat. And I’ve got my kids now, so I’m not going to let nothing stop me from eating.”
Baltimore Ravens announce death of linebacker Jaylon Ferguson
“We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson”, the team’s statement reads.
It goes on to describe him as “kind” and “respectful”, with a “big smile and an infectious personality”.
Born 14 December 1995 in Zachary, Louisiana, Jaylon was sadly only 26 years old when he died.
He went to West Feliciana high school in St Francisville, Louisiana and redshirted his first year at Louisiana Tech, in 2014.
“My God!” replied one of her Twitter followers. “Sending my deepest condolences to you and those babies!!!”