California University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that player Jamain Stephens Jr. had died. He was 20.
Stephens was set to be a senior in 2020-21. The school said the 6-3, 355-pound defensive tackle had played in 32 games throughout his career. He had three tackles in 11 games in 2019.
"Jamain was such a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him," athletic director Karen Hjerpe said in a statement. "His personality was contagious and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met.”
According to Stephens’ high school and his obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday, he had died from complications of COVID-19. But his high school issued a statement Wednesday retracting the cause of death. The cause of death was also removed from his obituary in the Post-Gazette.
“When we heard the news of Jamain Stephens’ death, we as a community were devastated. He was well loved by everyone in our community, and in an effort to get the news out about his death in a timely manner, we mistakenly attributed his death without official confirmation on cause of death,” Brother Tony Baginski, the principal of Central Catholic said. We had obtained the information about his passing from close friends of Jamain, who reached out to us with the news. We apologize for this error, and this information has since been removed from our Facebook announcement dated 9/8/2020. At this time, we do not have official confirmation on his cause of death. Jamain was the embodiment of everything a Central Catholic student should be: kind, gentle, giving, faithful and a friend to all. We pray for Jamain and his friends and family during this terrible time.”
Stephen’s father Jamain Stephens played offensive tackle in the NFL for five seasons from 1997-2001. Stephens Sr. was drafted in the first round at No. 29 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1996 NFL draft. He played in 19 games over two seasons with the Steelers before playing three seasons with the Bengals.
Cal U is a Division II school that’s in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The PSAC voted in July to suspend all fall sports for the 2020 season and said that no sports would begin before Jan. 1, 2021.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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