The Buffalo Bills starting tight end Dawson Knox and his family suffered a tragic loss following the death of his little brother, Luke Knox, on Wednesday evening. Luke, who was about to begin his first season playing for Florida International University, died at the age of 22.
Knox did not attend Bills’ practice on Thursday, and head coach Sean McDermott offered his thoughts and prayers while speaking to the media on August 18. McDermott told reporters, “Our hearts go out to Dawson and his family during this time. We’re right there with him… Just tragic news that I woke up to this morning. We love him and we support him.”
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Immediately after the news of Luke’s death broke, Bills Mafia showed an outpouring of love for the Knox family and started donating money to the P.U.N.T Pediatric Cancer Collaborative, with the bulk of the offerings submitted in increments of $16, for Luke’s jersey number, or $16.88 to honor both brothers.
Bills reporter Sal Reid tweeted on Thursday afternoon, “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.”
By Saturday, the donations received topped rose to over $150,000. As one Bills fan tweeted, “Football is Family, Buffalo Bills are Family, Mafia is family. We are family and so is the entire Knox family. We hurt for you too.”
Knox will not be playing in the team’s second preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Saturday as he will be attending his brother’s funeral service, which will be live streamed.
Knox tweeted on Friday, “Thank you all for the outpouring of love and support for my family. Our hearts are broken but we know Luke is in a much better place now with his savior Jesus. We’ll celebrate his life at Christ Pres. Church tomorrow, visitation starting at 2pm and the service will start at 4pm.”
Luke Played Linebacker & Tight End at College
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.
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.
Luke recently transferred to FIU where he was preparing for the season opener on September 1 against Bryant University.
Luke’s final Instagram post before his death was shared on July 5, where expressed how happy he was to be playing football FIU. He shared a series of photos from Miami 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).”
Knox’s little brother was also his 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.”
Social Media Filled With Heartfelt Message to Honor Luke’s Life
Former coaches, family friends, and fans filled Twitter and Instagram with memories of Luke following his death. Bills linebacker Tyrel Dodson tweeted, “You were a little brother to me. Dawson admired your work ethic & your energy. Forever grateful to be in your life and share Great memories with you luke. Fly high bubba 😢💜 #PlayForLuke.”
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.”
One woman shared a photo with Luke on Instagram and wrote, “Dawson Knox’s little brother Luke passed away. I met him in KC and we became great friends over the last 8 months! My heart is beyond heartbroken. May angels lead you in… 🙏🏼💙❤️.’