Former NFL and USC offensive lineman Max Tuerk has died, USC announced on Sunday. He was 26 years old. The cause of death was not reported.
Tuerk was a third-round draft pick by the then-San Diego Chargers in 2016. At USC, Tuerk was the first-ever true freshman to start at left tackle in program history. In 2014, Tuerk earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors at center. In all, Tuerk made 33 starts for the Trojans.
"The #TrojanFamily is terribly saddened by the news of Tuerk’s passing, gone too soon at the age of 26, and our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family," USC Athletics tweeted Sunday.
After being inactive for all 16 games during his NFL rookie season, Tuerk was waived by the Chargers in 2017 and then acquired by the Arizona Cardinals, with whom he made his only NFL appearance in the Cardinals' 23-0 win over the New York Giants on Dec. 24, 2017. He played one snap. The Cardinals released Tuerk in April 2018.
"This news is hard to process, and all I can think of is how unbelievably sad I am - and all of us at the Chargers are - upon learning of Max's passing. I'm heartbroken for his parents and family," Chargers GM Tom Telesco said in a statement released by the team. "Max had a tremendous passion for football and a quiet toughness that those who didn't know him may have underestimated, but all of us who knew him appreciated. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Max's family during this extremely difficult time."
USC coach Clay Helton also released a statement on Twitter: "Heartbroken by the loss of Max Tuerk. Incredible person, teammate, and Trojan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."