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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Rickey Dixon, Thorpe Award winner and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, has passed away at 53

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Dixon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

NCAA Football Archive Photo by John Biever/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to former head coach Barry Switzer, former Oklahoma Sooners DB Rickey Dixon has passed away at the age of 53. Dixon, who was diagnosed with ALS several years ago, was the 1987 Jim Thorpe Award winner and a 2019 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was also a key contributor for OU’s 1985 National Championship team.

During his time in Norman, Dixon accrued 16 interceptions, nine of which came during his 1987 Thorpe Award and Consensus All-American campaign. The latter total is still a program record for a single season.

Following his senior season, Dixon was selected fifth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1988 NFL Draft. He’d end up spending six seasons in the NFL — five with the Bengals and one of the Oakland Raiders — and ended his pro career with six interceptions.

In a 2019 interview with George Stoia, Dixon’s family stated that his condition was a direct result of undiagnosed concussions suffered during his playing career. In 2017, his family was awarded $4.5 million in a class-action settlement with the NFL.

While the late chapters of Dixon’s life were tragic, Dixon by all accounts held a positive attitude until the very end. We can also take some comfort in the fact that he was able to hear of his HOF nod prior to his passing, and it was incredibly cool to see his son accept the honor on his behalf.

Rest in peace, Rickey.