Death of Oklahoma Senior LB Austin Box Possibly Drug Related

Police were investigating whether drugs had a role in the death Thursday of Oklahoma senior linebacker Austin Box, and a witness told authorities he believed his friend had overdosed.

Authorities didn’t immediately release an official cause of death, and Box’s body was sent to the state Medical Examiner’s office. Box was 22.

“We’re all shocked and heartbroken,” Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. “Austin was a great young man, a great young man to coach, and a great teammate.”

Stoops’ defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, fought back tears and said he was “numb” while talking about Box during an evening news conference at the Switzer Center, adjacent to the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

“You can’t plan for this,” Venables said. “There’s no blueprint for it. I just know that a young man was tragically taken from us today.”

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