The Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott started off his press conference on Thursday, August 18 by sending his condolences to Dawson Knox and his family members following the sudden death of the tight end’s younger brother, Luke Knox. He was 22.
McDermott told reporters, “We’re right there with him and his family. It’s just tragic news that I woke up to this morning. We love him and we support him and it’s unfortunate.”
Luke’s cause of death was not immediately clear. The Associated Press reported, “Luke Knox died Wednesday evening, school officials said. The cause was not revealed, though the university said police do not suspect foul play.”
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Luke appeared to be following in his big brother’s footsteps, starting out his college football career at Ole Miss in 2018. A business major, he earned an Athletic Director’s Honor Roll distinction in 2020 and played linebacker before switching to tight end in 2021, per Bleacher Report. Luke transferred to Florida International ahead of the 2022 college football season.
FIU coach Mike MacIntyre sent a moving message on Twitter following Luke’s death. “Words cannot express the heartfelt sorrow we feel because of the passing of our teammate and friend, Luke Knox. I had the honor of coaching Luke at Ole Miss and at FIU. While I admired his passion for football, his genuine love for his family and teammates is what I will always remember.”
“He had a special way of making everyone around him feel comfortable and confident,” MacIntyre continued. “Luke’s family is special to me, and they will continually be in my heart and in my prayers during this difficult time.”
Originally from Brentwood, Tennessee, Luke, mostly played special teams during his time at Ole Miss, Knox’s alma mater, where he appeared in 23 games and recorded 11 tackles, one fumble recovered, and two passes deflected in four seasons.
FIU Athletics said in a statement, “We send our thoughts and prayers to Luke’s family, friends and teammates during this difficult time. Coaches and support staff have been reaching out to our football family and will continue to do so to ensure our student-athletes have the support they need.”
Luke was also his brother’s biggest fan. After Knox got drafted by the Bills in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, he wrote on Instagram, “One of the proudest moments in the life of a younger brother. So dang proud of you bro. Time to go get what’s yours!! Love you 🙏 #BILLSMAFIA.”
Bills Mafia showed Knox and his family major love following their loss, donating moneyto the P.U.N.T Pediatric Cancer Collaborative in increments of $16, Luke’s jersey number or $16.88 to honor both brothers.
Bills reporter Sal Reid tweeted, “Just spoke with @PUNTpedcancer. Their org works so closely with the Knox family and they are beside themselves with heartbreak rn. They understand that this is an expression of love from #BillsMafia to @dawson_knox and are humbled by the $27,000+ that’s been donated already.”
Luke’s Last Instagram Post Before His Death
Before his death, Luke’s final post on Instagram was shared on July 5. He shared a series of photos from Miami, Florida and wrote, “Live in Miami andddd play some ball?! Yaa we’ll take that. Thank you Lord for blessing me. You always know what’s best! Month one down in Miami. (Pretty much fluent in Spanish now).”
Luke also regularly shared photos on social media with his 25-year-old big brother. In March 2020, he posted a picture of the two and wrote, “One of us definitely threw up during this quarantine workout 🤦🏻♂️.”
Tributes Filled Twitter Following the News of Luke’s Death
Twitter filled with heartfelt messages immediately after the news of Luke’s death broke. FIU Athletic’s director Scott Carr tweeted, “This is a devastating day for our department, especially for our players and coaches. Our thoughts and prayers are with Luke’s family and friends, and he will always be a part of the Panther Family. This really hurts.”
Former Ole Miss linebackers coach Tyrone Nix tweeted, “Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Luke Knox My heartfelt condolences goes out to his family in which he thought the world of. May they remain strong in this difficult time. Once a Rebels always a Rebel. #LandShark family for LIFE.”