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OU football: Joe Castiglione grieves death of Rickey Dixon, remembers his 'extreme courage and spirit of perseverance'

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Rickey in college

Rickey Dixon played four seasons for the Sooners (1984-1987). He went from weighing 160 pounds to over 180 his senior year, winning the Jim Thorpe Award along the way. 

Former Oklahoma cornerback Rickey Dixon, 53, died Saturday after battling ALS since 2013.

In a statement released by the university, athletic director Joe Castiglione gave his condolences to the Dixon family.

"Ever since he left OU, Rickey has been regarded as one of the finest football players in school history," Castiglione said in the release. "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."

Dixon — who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019 — led OU to a 42-5-1 record during his time with the Sooners. He was a key part of Oklahoma's 1985 Orange Bowl victory over Penn State for the program's sixth-ever national championship.

His college career lasted from 1984-1987 before he was drafted No. 5 overall in 1985 to the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.

According to his family, Dixon's battle with ALS was the result of undiagnosed concussions he suffered during his playing career.

"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," Castiglione said. "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."

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