Johnie Kirton scored the game-winning touchdown for the
San Jose Sabercats in an 84-77 overtime win over the
Chicago Rush Saturday night.
Tuesday morning, news broke of his passing. Kirton died
Monday at the age of 26.
The former Washington Husky was traded from the Arizona
Rattlers to San Jose May 10, and Kirton had played well
for the Sabercats, scoring five rushing touchdowns in the
team’s last two wins over San Antonio and Chicago.
Darren Arbet, head coach of San Jose, issued a statement
through the team’s official website:
It is with great shock and sadness that we
confirm that Johnie Kirton has passed away. He was such a
great kid, and in the short time he was in San Jose he was
such a valued member of our organization’s family. Johnie
was a great team guy and hard-nosed player, and he will be
sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Johnie’s
family in this difficult time.
The Arena Football League also issued a statement:
The Arena Football League is deeply saddened
by the news that we’ve lost one of our players this
morning. Johnie Kirton, 26, made lasting memories over
three seasons with the Chicago Rush, Arizona Rattlers, and
San Jose SaberCats. Information about his passing is
limited at this time, but we hope that everyone will
respect the privacy of the Kirton family and all those who
knew Johnie as his loss is grieved.