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Former Cardinal Safety Kwamie Lassiter Dies

Defensive back grabbed four interceptions in win to clinch 1998 playoff bid

Safety Kwamie Lassiter waits for a play during a game at Sun Devil Stadium in 2002.
Safety Kwamie Lassiter waits for a play during a game at Sun Devil Stadium in 2002.

Kwamie Lassiter, the safety who had four interceptions in the Cardinals' season-finale victory that clinched a playoff berth in 1998, died Sunday. He was 49.

"We were all devastated to learn of Kwamie's passing today and our hearts go out to all of his family and friends," Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. "Kwamie came to the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent. He not only became a key contributor to our team for eight seasons but continued to make an impact on this community after his playing days ended. He will be missed greatly."

Lassiter arrived in Arizona as a 26-year-old rookie in 1995 out of the University of Kansas. He eventually worked his way into the starting lineup, grabbing eight interceptions in 1998 -- including his huge performance against the Chargers in the final game. Those four picks helped the Cardinals to a dramatic 16-13 win at home at Sun Devil Stadium to propel the Cards into the playoffs for the first time since moving to Arizona.

Lassiter had an even bigger year in 2001 when he was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl after grabbing nine interceptions.

He left as a free agent after the 2002 season, playing 10 games for the San Diego Chargers in 2003. He played four games for the St. Louis Rams in 2004 to finish out his career.

He remained active with the franchise after his career, taking part in alumni functions and occasionally working as part of the team's radio coverage. Lassiter had been the first player host of the team's "Big Red Rage" radio show in 2002.

Lassiter also created the Kwamie Lassiter Foundation, built to raise awareness for challenges children face growing up, including health issues like sickle cell, cancer and obesity.

Lassiter's children include Kwamie II, Eric, Kwinton, Kwincy, Darius, KaVon, Devon and Darian.