Anderson entered the league when the Panthers selected him No. 23 overall in the 2000 draft. In total, he played in 27 games and logged nine starts for Carolina over his first two pro seasons and recorded 75 tackles, three career fumble recoveries, a defensive touchdown and an interception.
However, he was suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in 2002 and, per an ESPN piece, was denied reinstatement for the 2003 campaign. Anderson never returned to the NFL as an active player.
“Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones,” the Panthers said in a brief statement.
“Today is a sad day for the JSU family,” Jackson State vice president and director of athletics Ashley Robinson said in a school statement shared by media outlets. “Rashard was one of the best players in the history of our football program and an outstanding person. He attended our spring football game in April and was excited about the program returning to championship status. Rashard will always be remembered by Jackson State University, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”