Terry Long was an American athlete who
was a professional football player with
the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers (1984-91).
He started at left guard and remained a
fixture in the Pittsburgh Steelers lineup,
eventually moving to starting right guard.
Standing just 5-foot-11, he was once the
smallest offensive lineman in the NFL,
but grew to a 284-pound hulking figure
on the offensive lines.
At the time of his suicide, Long was under
indictment for fraudulently securing loans
for a North Side chicken-processing plant
that he eventually burned to the ground
for more than $1 million in insurance
money. Long ran into stiff resistance
from neighbors who opposed plans to open
a chicken slaughterhouse at the Value
Added Food plant, so Long set fire to his
plant, destroying it on September 25th,
2003, according to the indictment.
Missouri officials also held a warrant
for his arrest on a felony theft charge
involving a bad check.
Biographical fast facts
Date and place of birth: July 21, 1959,
Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Date, time, place and cause of death: June 7, 2005,
at 3:00 p.m., at UPMC Passavant Hospital, McCandless,
near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.*
(Suicide - ingested antifreeze / meningitis / chronic traumatic encephalopathy)**
Error corrections or clarifications
* One account erroneously placed Long's
death at his Franklin Park, Pennsylvania home.
** Long had a history of suicide attempts,
including an attempted suicide in 1991 by
ingesting an overdose of sleeping pills
and rat poison after being suspended for
violating the NFL's steroids policy.
Additionally, he had spent time at a
psychiatric clinic after drinking Drano
upon learning of an eight-count federal
indictment handed down early in 2005.
Terry Long was facing a maximum of 55 years
in prison on charges of fraud and arson,
and had been depressed, "lost" and despondent.
Initially his cause of death was not clear,
so an autopsy was ordered. Even that
was inconclusive. Subsequent tests showed
Long's brain suffered "repeated mild traumatic
injury while playing football." Those repeated
injuries made Long's brain more susceptible
to the meningitis that reportedly killed him.
Later, a revised death certificate was filed,
listing the cause of Long's death as suicide
from drinking antifreeze. The initial ruling
was changed when an outside laboratory discovered
the antifreeze in his system.
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