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home : in the news : in the news January 24, 2015

3/11/2014 7:53:00 PM
Former HHS star and NFL linebacker T.J. Turner dies at 35
T.J. Turner (35) is shown during Michigan State’s game against then top-ranked Ohio State on Nov. 7, 1998 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. (Photo by Steve Roush.)
 

T.J. Turner (35) is shown during Michigan State’s game against then top-ranked Ohio State on Nov. 7, 1998 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. (Photo by Steve Roush.)

 

With 3:33 left in the fourth quarter, Turner stuffed OSU running back Joe Montgomery for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Spartans’ 26 as Michigan State upset the Buckeyes 28-24. Turner, then a sophomore, had a season-high 14 total tackles, including an 8-yard sack of Ohio State quarterback Joe Germaine, in the contest. He is shown celebrating on the sideline after the big stop on fourth-and-1. (Photo by Steve Roush.)
With 3:33 left in the fourth quarter, Turner stuffed OSU running back Joe Montgomery for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Spartans’ 26 as Michigan State upset the Buckeyes 28-24. Turner, then a sophomore, had a season-high 14 total tackles, including an 8-yard sack of Ohio State quarterback Joe Germaine, in the contest. He is shown celebrating on the sideline after the big stop on fourth-and-1. (Photo by Steve Roush.)

The Highland County Press

Former NFL football player and Hillsboro High School graduate T.J. Turner has died after battling cancer.

He was 35.

Turner was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2001, following an outstanding college career with the Michigan State Spartans.

Playing for the Hillsboro Indians, Turner was first team All-Ohio, All-Region, All-District and All-League as a senior in 1996.

He was named league MVP after recording 103 tackles, including seven sacks, in just seven games in 1996. He also had three interceptions and recovered six fumbles.

On offense, Turner caught 39 passes for 757 yards (19.4 avg.) and 14 touchdowns as the starting tight end in 1996. He helped Hillsboro to a combined regular-season record of 37-3 during his four-year high school career.

In addition, Turner averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds playing basketball for the Indians.

Turner suffered a season-ending injury his senior season at Michigan State, but still earned four letters (1997-2000) for the Spartans.

In his junior year in 1999, Turner was named All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention.

He started all year at middle linebacker, finishing fifth on the team with 66 tackles and recorded two sacks and eight stops behind the line of scrimmage.

A highlight of his junior season came against the Purdue Boilermakers when he intercepted two Drew Brees passes and returned one 88-yards for a touchdown.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. The Turner Funeral Home in Hillsboro is serving the family.



Related Stories:
• Thomas 'T.J.' Samuel Turner III

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Article comment by: LEE TOWNSEL

Condolences to you and your family--May the grace of God provide you with the comfort you need.

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Article comment by: John Wend

I didn't know T. J. well, but I watched him play many basketball and football games during his high school and collegiate career. Anytime he and I happened to meet, I always spoke and he always replied, "Hi, Mr. Wend" with a smile. That's all I needed. Despite being a giant of a man and a tremendous athlete, he seemed very shy and he always represented his school and communlty with humility and grace. Now, his pain has been healed. He can now rest well with no problems.


Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Article comment by: kris toney

I cant even begin to say how many great times t.j. and i have had together... mostly on the hardwood.. even though t.j. was a bit younger that me... he played with the big boys in elementary school.. he worked hard and made us work even harder if there was in chance of containing him. I'll remember these days forever. Hillsboro and greenfield on the court in the mid 90s.. barnburner for sure!!!! Now in the starting lineup for the best team ever known. God's team.. they are undefeated, never loss a game.. and just think of how bright that spotlight is..

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Article comment by: Jim Thompson

I didn't know Mr. Turner and I don't know what kind of cancer he had. My condolences to his family. However, this is an opportunity to tell all of you battling cancer that your personal battle is unique. You are not a statistic. Never, never give up. I am a two time lymphoma survivor (two different types, not related in any way to each other). First one in 2000, second one in 2006. Second one was Stage 4. Stages mean nothing without more information.

Gather all the information you can. Don't hide. You don't have a cold and it is not going to go away with some whacko cure. Find the hospital in the country that specializes in your type of cancer and get yourself there. There is help available for travel and so forth for you and a caregiver. It is usually available from organizations that specialize in your type of cancer. Don't feel sorry for yourself, get in gear and get going.

As I stated at the beginning, I didn't know Mr. Turner, his type of cancer, or what actions he may have taken. My comments here are for those of you who are scared to death and are in no way a reflection on Mr. Turner. Editor's note: Jim, I knew T.J. Turner and also worked with his father, Tom 'Tee' Turner for many years. These are very independent and strong-willed men. Sometimes, for many of us, that is our dilemma. That said, T.J.'s high school football coach, Jim Horne, told me in 1996 that T.J. "will play on Sunday," meaning the NFL. Coach Horne was right. T.J. played on Sunday. May he rest in peace.




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