|Damion Cook, (no. 95 on the back row) died of a heart attack at age 36. (Jet photo)|
A former Black College All-American and NFL player is no longer with us. Former Bethune-Cookman defensive lineman Damion Cook, 36, died on Friday after suffering a heart attack while moving into his home.
Cook played at BCU in the late 1990s before embarking on a pro career that would span the NFL, CFL and UFL.
“Damion Cook was a giant man with a gentle spirit,” B-CU Athletic Director Lynn Thompson said in a statement by the university.”As a young Wildcat, he was a brilliant student-athlete from a tremendous family who supported him and our university for many years.”
Cook achieved legendary status in 1998 when he blocked a field goal, ran the ball back all the way to the one-yard-line after diving because he thought the five-yard-line was the endzone, earning him the name “Big Dive.”
“Although he was a year older, it didn’t take me long to recognize the personality of this gentle giant,” said Rashean Mathis, a B-CU teammate of Cook now with the Detroit Lions. “At the time, he was the biggest athlete I know but he topped that with one of the greatest personalities I had ever seen. Although we didn’t keep in touch over the years, the memories we shared will last forever.”
Cook went undrafted in 2001 but was signed by the Ravens. He spent time with the Lions, Bears, Dolphins and Browns during his career, which ended in 2009.
He also could have had a career as a Ray Lewis impersonator.
After retirement, Cook returned to the game as a coach, taking over as head coach for Atholton High School last season and leading the team to a 3-7 record.