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Tyler Sash: A Damn Good Football Player, Gone Too Soon

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Take a moment to put aside the hate and remember a great Iowan.

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There are times when even the most bitter of enemies come together. Usually, those times are for circumstances of elation or extreme sadness.

Unfortunately, it's the latter for Cyclone and Hawkeye fans, as the news broke yesterday that former Iowa standout at safety, Tyler Sash, was found dead by a family member in Oskaloosa on Tuesday morning.

While most Iowa State fans probably remember Sash as a nuisance on the field (he picked off Austen Arnaud three times in the 2009 Cy-Hawk game), his positive influences off the field helped a number of people who needed it.

His good intentions can be seen in this 2011 Oskaloosa Herald article about the creation of the Tyler Sash Foundation:

"People have been supporting me my entire career through high school and being at Iowa," explained Sash in a Herald interview Friday. "I just want to give back to my community. I know a lot of kids in the community need help with things."

Sash was something of a celebrity in his hometown. He was even given a key to the city in 2012 for his efforts on and off the field.

As Cyclone fans, many of us are quick to discount any good that Hawkeye players, alumni and fans do. It's in our nature as members of the Cy-Hawk rivalry.

However, it's undeniable that Sash did a lot of things in his much-too-short life that Iowans as a whole should be proud of. That's not to say he didn't have low points too... But that's being human.

Notable Iowa State figures took to social media on Tuesday afternoon, sharing in the grief for Sash.

Personally, I remember watching Sash play and thinking, "Wow, that guy plays balls to the wall all game long" when I saw #9 on the television. I also thought a bunch of other things at the time, considering he was a member of the enemy, but enemies can still earn respect.

I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying that Tyler Sash earned the respect of a lot of people every time he stepped onto a football field.

That's what he should be remembered for, too... Being a hell of an athlete and someone who gave back to the community. Sash was a giver, a badass football player, a Super Bowl champion and an Iowan. That's a pretty good combo if you ask me.

WRNL had planned on running an article poking fun at Iowa this morning, but we've decided to postpone it until tomorrow out of respect to Sash and the greater Hawkeye community. A "virtual moment of silence," if you will. It's still Hate Week, and it's still okay for both the Iowa and Iowa State fan bases to make jabs back and forth, but Cyclone and Hawkeye fans alike should keep the Sash family on their minds as we head into the big game on Saturday.

Gone, but not forgotten. Sooner than he should have left us.

Rest in peace, Tyler Sash.