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Charles Rogers (American football)

Charles Benjamin Rogers[1] (May 23, 1981 – November 11, 2019) was an American professional football player who was a wide receiver for three seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Michigan State Spartans, earning unanimous All-American honors and recognition as the top college wide receiver in the country. The Detroit Lions selected him with the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, but he was out of the league after only three years due to injuries and off-field issues. He is often ranked as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.[2][3][4]

Charles Rogers
No. 80
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born:(1981-05-23)May 23, 1981
Saginaw, Michigan
Died:November 11, 2019(2019-11-11) (aged 38)
Fort Myers, Florida
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:202 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school:Saginaw (Saginaw, Michigan)
College:Michigan State
NFL Draft:2003 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:15
Games started:9
Receiving yards:440
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early yearsEdit

Rogers was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan to a single mother.[5] Rogers lived with his grandfather at age six while his mother served a one-year prison sentence and again during high school when his mother took a night job.[5] At Saginaw High School, Rogers played on the football, basketball, and track teams.[5][6] In football, he was a three-time all-state honoree.[6]

College careerEdit

While attending Michigan State University, Rogers played for the Spartans from 2000 to 2002. He broke numerous receiving records. Rogers still holds the school records for most touchdowns in a career with 27, breaking the record held by former Spartans wide receiver Kirk Gibson, and the school record for most receiving yards in a single game with 270. He broke Randy Moss's NCAA record of 13 consecutive games with a touchdown catch. During his 2002 junior season, he had 68 receptions for 1,351 yards and 13 touchdowns, won the Fred Biletnikoff Award and Paul Warfield Trophy as the best college wide receiver in the nation, and was recognized as a unanimous All-American.[7] His stock went up dramatically in his junior year when, in a game against Notre Dame, he outjumped two defenders to catch a Jeff Smoker pass in the back of the end zone, then managed to keep his left foot in bounds to score a touchdown.[5]

College statisticsEdit

Year Team GP Rec Yards TDs
2001 Michigan State 12 67 1,470 14
2002 Michigan State 12 68 1,351 13
College Totals 24 135 2,821 27


Professional careerEdit

The Detroit Lions selected Rogers with the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, one pick ahead of University of Miami wide receiver Andre Johnson.[9]

Rogers caught 22 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns during his first five games of the 2003 season, before breaking his clavicle while practicing a speed drill with Dré Bly, leaving him out for the season. On the third play of the 2004 season, against the Chicago Bears, Rogers suffered another broken clavicle, knocking him out for the season. He was so devastated by the injury that the Lions allowed him to go home for the remainder of the season. Years later, Lions general manager Matt Millen said that in hindsight, he made a mistake by letting Rogers be away from the team for an extended period of time.[5]

Rogers was suspended for four games in 2005 for a third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. As a result of this violation, the Lions filed a grievance, claiming that his drug suspension violated a clause in his contract, which meant Rogers was obligated to return $10 million of the $14.2 million the Lions gave him in bonuses. The Detroit Free Press later reported that Rogers failed drug tests each year while at Michigan State.[citation needed]

Upon his return from suspension, Rogers played only nine games, with three starts, and was declared inactive for four games. He caught 14 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown.[citation needed]

On September 2, 2006, Rogers was released by the Lions. Head coach Rod Marinelli said of Rogers' release, "We picked the men that are right for this football team. It's behind us."[10] He worked out thereafter for the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006, but was not signed due to his 40-yard dash times of 4.8 seconds, a decline from his regular recorded times of 4.4 seconds.[5]

In October 2008, an arbitrator hired by the Lions ruled that Rogers had to repay the team $8.5 million.[11] However, Rogers did not repay that money, and the Lions filed a lawsuit against him. In April 2010, U.S. federal judge Julian A. Cook ruled that Rogers had to pay $6.1 million of his signing bonus.[12] In an interview in 2017, regarding the money owed the Lions, Rogers stated “I ain’t got nothing to pay them . . . I am going to file for bankruptcy anyway.” In the interview he said that at the time he was working his first "real job" doing various tasks and public relations for an auto shop.[13]

NFL seasonEdit

Year Team Games Receptions Receiving Yards Yards per Reception Longest Reception Receiving Touchdowns First Downs Fumbles Fumbles Lost
2003 DET 5 22 243 11.0 33 3 13 0 0
2004 DET 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
2005 DET 9 14 197 14.1 35 1 11 0 0
Career -- 15 36 440 12.2 35 4 24 0 0


Personal lifeEdit

Rogers fathered eight children with four women. Two of the children were born before he graduated from high school.[5] As of April 2017, Rogers had lived in Fort Myers, Florida and worked at an auto repair shop.[15]

On November 11, 2019, Rogers died in Fort Myers at age 38 of liver failure.[16][17] He had been diagnosed with cancer and was in need of a liver transplant.[18]

Legal issuesEdit

He was arrested in September 2008 and charged with assault and battery of his girlfriend, Naija Washington. The charges were later dropped. In December 2008, Rogers was sentenced to attend drug court or face jail time after violating his probation.[1] In March 2009, Rogers was jailed for violating probation.[19] On September 16, 2009, Rogers was arrested in Novi, Michigan for driving under the influence of alcohol after police found him unresponsive behind the wheel of his car.[20] Rogers was arrested again in Novi on January 5, 2010, after passing out from drinking at a restaurant, which was a violation of a sobriety court order; he was sentenced to 93 days in jail two days later.[21]

Following the injuries he suffered at his workplace, Rogers developed an addiction to the prescription opioid Vicodin. He tested positive for marijuana twice while at Michigan State and a test at the NFL combine detected excess water in his system. Rogers continued to smoke marijuana after his 2004 season-ending injury, which led to his 2005 suspension. In a 2009 interview with ESPN, he said that his hard living contributed to his downfall in the NFL.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Former Lion, Spartan jailed". The Oakland Press. December 4, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Klopman, Michael (April 22, 2010). "NFL Draft BUSTS: 14 HUGE Draft Disasters Of The Decade (PHOTOS)". Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  3. ^ Noco, Dave (June 27, 2017). "11 of the Biggest NFL Draft Busts of All Time". CheatSheet. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  4. ^ Baxter, Russell S. "The Biggest Busts in NFL Draft History". Bleacher Report.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Hill, Jemele (August 14, 2009). "Lion Flub". Outside the Lines. ESPN. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Charles Rogers". Michigan State University. Archived from the original on June 18, 2003. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  7. ^ 2011 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 11 (2011). Retrieved June 22, 2012.
  8. ^ "Charles Rogers College Stats". Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Ex-No. 2 Pick Rogers Is Released by Lions". September 3, 2006 – via
  11. ^ Kowalski, Tom (October 9, 2008). "Charles Rogers must repay Lions $8.5 million". mlive.
  12. ^ Ashenfelter, David (April 6, 2010). "Judge: Ex-Lion Charles Rogers owes team $6.1 million". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  13. ^ Tucker, Cody (April 19, 2017) Finding Charles Rogers Lansing State Journal. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Charles Rogers Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  15. ^ "Ex-football star Charles Rogers tries to repair life in Fort Myers". The News-Press.
  16. ^ Staff (November 11, 2019). "Charles Rogers, former Lions, Michigan State WR, dies at 38". ESPN. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  17. ^ "Former football star and Fort Myers resident Charles Rogers dies at 38". WBBH. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  18. ^ Bernreuter, Hugh (November 11, 2019). "Charles Rogers, former Detroit Lions and Michigan State star, had cancer and liver disease, friends say". Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Associated Press. "Ex-Lions WR Charles Rogers in jail for violating probation -". USA Today. Archived from the original on March 28, 2009.
  20. ^ Austin, Kyle (September 17, 2009). "Charles Rogers arrested, charged with drunken driving". mlive.
  21. ^ Associated Press (January 6, 2010). "Ex-Lion Rogers jailed for failing to remain sober". Archived from the original on January 9, 2010.

External linksEdit