Former Kansas football safety Kwamie Lassiter, who parlayed a three-year stint with the Jayhawks in the early-1990s into a 10-year NFL career, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack. He was 49.
With the Jayhawks, Lassiter hauled in a team-high four interceptions in his ’92 debut campaign, which ultimately ended in the team’s Aloha Bowl victory, and earned All-Big 8 second-team honors as a senior in ’94, when he had three total picks.
Lassiter’s son, Kwamie Lassiter II, will be a junior wide receiver at KU this fall. His other children include Eric, Kwinton, Kwincy, Darius, KaVon, Devon and Darian.
Lassiter’s death was announced by the Arizona Cardinals, an organization he joined as an undrafted free agent and where he spent eight years, including a nine-interception season in 2001 that resulted in his selection as a Pro Bowl alternate. He is perhaps most remembered for a four-interception game in the Cardinals’ season-finale in 1998, a 16-13 victory over the San Diego Chargers that lifted the franchise into its first playoff appearance in Arizona.
Lassiter also created the Kwamie Lassiter Foundation, built to raise awareness for challenges children face growing up, including health issues like sickle cell, cancer and obesity.
“We were all devastated to learn of Kwamie’s passing today and our hearts go out to all of his family and friends,” Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “Kwamie came to the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent. He not only became a key contributor to our team for eight seasons but continued to make an impact on this community after his playing days ended. He will be missed greatly.”