Sad Days

Jaylon Ferguson, the Baltimore Ravens’ 3rd-round draft pick in 2019 and who had played for the team the last three seasons, died yesterday at the age of 26. Tony Siragusa, a starting defensive tackle on the Ravens’ first Super Bowl championship team (the 2000 season), one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, also died yesterday; he was 55.

The Ravens no longer occupy the same place in my world as they once did, but they are still “my” team so yesterday’s deaths are especially difficult to process. Not to equate the way too early passing of two players on the same day to a rash of injuries, but the Ravens’ 2021 season was derailed by an inordinate number of injuries. They finished the season with 17 players on Injured Reserve, including both Pro Bowl cornerbacks (Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, Peters missed the entire season) and a Pro Bowl offensive tackle (Ronnie Stanley). That number does not include their starting quarterback (Lamar Jackson), a former league Most Valuable Player, who missed the last four games with an injury.

Some say that in the long run luck is supposed to “even out.” What did John Maynard Keynes say about the long run? “In the long run, we are all dead.”


I didn’t know Ferguson or Siragusa. I did know German (his first name; pronounced Her-Mahn, not Jer-Min or Her-Min). He was a core member of the local Corvette community. He died on Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack. My wonderful wife and I just saw him at the monthly Penske Cars And Coffee on Saturday the 18th.

While we did not know him well, we always chatted at the many car events we attended. He was always kind and considerate. His death is a bigger shock to me than those of Ferguson or Siragusa.

I am well aware that I have often complained about the seemingly unending procession of bad events, both major and minor, that have occurred in my life. Trying to process three significant deaths in the same day–we found about German yesterday–has been both a continuation of that procession as well as a wake-up call, of sorts. Carpe Diem cannot just be a slogan; it has to be a way of life. However, that axiom cannot be used as an excuse to live irresponsibly. At the same time, it has to be a reminder to enjoy one’s life as much as possible.


As always, I welcome thoughtful comments.








6 thoughts on “Sad Days

  1. Several things we all can do to improve our chances of dying last:
    >Know your numbers-HbA1C, BP, TChol and LDL, eGFR(kidney function), UACR(urine protein), and coronary calcium score and what they mean. Many healthcare providers don’t.
    >Don’t smoke.
    >Learn to laugh.
    >Don’t do stupid things.


    1. “Several things we all can do to improve our chances of dying last”

      The points you bring up are all valid, and I’m trying to keep most of them under control, but the other issue is genetics/family history. Both sides of my family have a strong history of heart issues and cancer. I never met my paternal grandmother, she died of cancer 4 years before I was born. At age 10 my paternal grandfather died of heart issues. The next year my mother’s younger brother died of cancer, three years later her older brother also died of cancer and she had a heart attack and passed at age 54. My father recently passed of cancer and heart issues, but he was also 84 years old. His older brother passed away at age 66 of cancer. My maternal grandfather also passed from heart issues at age 64. So sometimes the cards dealt are not in your favor, and there is little you can do to change it.

      We start dying the day we are born, so I learned at a young age to squeeze as much into the time I have as I possibly can. I’m still cheating the buzzards out of a meal, and hope to for a fair bit longer, but when the grim reaper does finally catch me I hope to have had a life well lived. My hope is that folks will remember me as someone who got as much out of life as I could and did it right to the end.


      1. Of course, nothing completely removes the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. As you point out, genetics are a powerful influence. Still, too many Americans are downright neglectful of their health.


  2. On the doctor’s initial paperwork one fills out on the first visit to a new doctor, the questions about family cancer, in my case take forever. My Father’s family had eight siblings and they all had many children. I have a spreadsheet listing all of the cancers of this side of my tribe. It includes multiple cases of colon cancer, prostate cancer, bone cancer, gioglastoma, breast cancer, and on. Both of my maternal grandparents passed from cancer before I was born. The spreadsheet has been shared with the family to assist with their healthcare.

    For those who are not aware, a family history of breast cancer indicates a high potential for prostate cancer. In my case this is true and also for other of my first cousins. Make sure you search out your family history because as DDM says above, genetics/family history play a big role in your health.

    Dr. Banner, thanks for your wise input to better assist us with questions for our doctors. One thing more, when you go to your doctor appointments, have a family member or trusted friend accompany you so you have two sets of ears and two brains to assist with understanding the doctor.


    1. Thanks, Philip.

      “One thing more, when you go to your doctor appointments, have a family member or trusted friend accompany you so you have two sets of ears and two brains to assist with understanding the doctor.” Excellent advice.


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