Former Nebraska Cornhuskers star running back Dahrran Diedrick, who had a successful career in the Canadian Football League (CFL), passed away on Saturday after battling cancer. Diedrick, 44 years old at the time of his passing, played a crucial role in leading the Montreal Alouettes to two Grey Cup victories during his 10-year tenure in the CFL. The team confirmed his death through his family.

Former Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who currently serves on the team’s coaching staff, expressed his grief over the loss of his former teammate, saying that Diedrick departed “far too young.”

“I won two championships with Dahrran, and he was a vital part of our team,” stated Calvillo, who played alongside Diedrick for eight seasons in Montreal. “He always had a positive attitude and got along with everyone in our locker room. His departure is a tragic loss.”

Diedrick, born in Jamaica and raised in Toronto, became the first Nebraska recruit from Canada to play in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2001, he had a breakout season for the Cornhuskers, leading the Big 12 Conference in rushing yards with 1,299 and scoring 15 touchdowns. He made significant contributions to Nebraska’s run to the national championship game that season, although they were ultimately defeated by the Miami Hurricanes in the Rose Bowl. Diedrick concluded his college football career with 2,745 rushing yards on 502 carries and 26 touchdowns.

“It’s really sad,” expressed former Nebraska coach Frank Solich. “Dahrran was a great kid with a tremendous heart. I enjoyed being around him and coaching him, and I know his teammates enjoyed his company as well. He was a true warrior, the perfect I-back to have a fullback in front of you. He embodied the spirit of an I-formation tailback and gave his all in everything he did.”

Diedrick was drafted in the third round of the 2002 CFL draft but opted to return to school. He later signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent and also had a brief stint with the Green Bay Packers, appearing in preseason games. He played in one regular-season NFL game with the Washington Football Team in 2004. Following a tenure with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013, Diedrick rejoined the Alouettes for his final season in 2014. However, during that season, he was diagnosed with hepatosplenic gamma-delta T-cell lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Alouettes running back Dahrran Diedrick. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and former teammates,” expressed the Alouettes in a tribute to the late running back.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie also shared his condolences, tweeting, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, family, and former coaches and teammates of Dahrran Diedrick during this difficult time. Another life tragically cut short by cancer.”

Diedrick concluded his CFL career with 872 rushing yards on 179 carries and six touchdowns.

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