Three-time Southeastern Conference linebacker and Super Bowl champion Johnie Cooks has died. He was 64 years old.
Cooks played four seasons at Mississippi State, which issued notice of his death Thursday. No cause of death was given.
Cooks finished his college career with 392 tackles and 24 sacks. He twice led Mississippi State in tackles in the 1978 and 1981 seasons. In 1980, Cooks recorded a career-high 24 tackles in a game with Auburn.
Cooks, of Leland, Mississippi, was perhaps best known for a forced fumble near the goal line that helped preserve the Bulldogs’ 6-3 win over No. 1 Alabama in 1980.
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Cooks was drafted No. 2 overall by Baltimore in 1982 and played 10 seasons in the NFL. He played six with the Colts before joining the New York Giants, where he was part of their 1990 Super Bowl championship season. He finished his career with the Cleveland Browns in 1991.
Mississippi State Athletic Director Zac Selmon expressed his condolences to Cook’s family. «Johnie will forever be remembered at Starkville as he is established as an MSU legend,» Selmon said in a statement.
Cooks was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and is part of the Bulldogs’ Ring of Honor at Davis Wade Stadium.