American Football

Former Notre Dame, NFL RB Atkinson dies at 27

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03/12/2019 at 20:42 | Updated 03/12/2019 at 20:43

George Atkinson III, who played running back at Notre Dame and had a brief stint in the NFL, has died.

He was 27.

The Athletic's Pete Sampson reported his death Monday night. The cause has not
been revealed.

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Atkinson's twin brother, Josh, died of suicide last Christmas, shortly after
the death of their mother. She suffered from mental illness and Crohn's

Their father, George Atkinson II, played in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders
(1968-77) and the Denver Broncos (1979). A defensive back, he was a standout
on special teams, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a Super Bowl champion.

The Atkinson twins were raised in Northern California and earned scholarships
to Notre Dame. In three seasons there, George III rushed for 943 yards and 10
touchdowns. He went on to appear in five games with the Raiders (2014) and 16
with the Cleveland Browns (2016), primarily returning kicks.

In a personal essay published in October on The Unsealed, George II discussed
his life, describing a life of instability until age 13 when he and Josh went
to live with their father. He detailed his brother's suicide by hanging last

"That's the moment I felt like I lost everything," he wrote. "That's the
moment I can't describe. I never want you to feel his pain or my pain."

He said he also needed mental health care after Josh's death but found
motivation to live through his young daughter. He wrote the holidays -- and
the anniversaries of the deaths of his mother and brother -- would be hard.

"Like you, I am still struggling," he wrote. "My mother's birthday just passed
and I know the holidays this year won't be easy. But I am trying to take life
one day at a time.

"And so should you..."

--Field Level Media

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