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Oklahoma legend, College Football Hall of Famer Rickey Dixon, 53, loses battle with ALS

One of the greatest players in the storied history of Oklahoma football is finally at peace.

In 2013, Rickey Dixon was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Nearly seven years later, the standout former Oklahoma football player lost his battle with the insidious disease. Dixon, 53, is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and four children.

Dixon played his college football for the Sooners from 1984-87. As a junior and senior, Dixon earned first-team All-Big Eight honors. As a senior, Dixon was a consensus All-American and winner of the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

In January of last year, it was announced that Dixon would be inducted as a member of the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019. Because of his disease, Dixon, confined to a wheelchair, wasn’t able to make it into his former stadium for a ceremony honoring him at a Sooners game last fall. He was, though, able to make it to Norman to watch it.

OU, in conjunction with the NFF and College Hall of Fame, honored Dixon at halftime of the Sooners’ 2019 season-opening game vs. Houston. Dixon, who was able to travel to Norman from his home in DeSoto, Texas, that weekend, watched the game at the house of his collegiate head coach, Barry Switzer.

Switzer was the first to confirm the passing of one of his former players.

“Ever since he left OU, Rickey has been regarded as one of the finest football players in school history,” said OU Vice President and Athletics Director Joe Castiglione in a statement, “and his enshrinement last year into the College Football Hall of Fame is certainly validation of that. As much as any of his accomplishments on the field, however, he should be remembered for his extreme courage and spirit of perseverance. Overcoming the daily physical struggles he faced the last several years is a testament to his determination, to his resolve and to his fighter’s mentality, as well as to those closest to him who provided so much loving support. When we think of Rickey we will reminisce about everything he achieved during and after his playing career, and we extend our sincerest condolences to his wife Lorraine, their children and the entire Dixon family.”