Dedicated fans of Syracuse football no doubt remember Luke Cain, the linebacker who wore #19 during the Greg Robinson years for the Orange. After leaving Syracuse just a little bit short of earning a degree, his life too a hard right turn, and now word has come out that the troubled former Orangemen has passed away far too young.
Per his former coach, Syracuse C/O 2006 linebacker Luke Cain has passed away. Played at SU all 4 years, was a starter in 2006. Tragic.
— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) January 11, 2016
As reported in 2012 by CNYCentral, Cain found himself panhandling and fighting mental illness in Syracuse after failing to obtain his degree, coming up five classes short of graduating. At the time, members of the Syracuse Football Club – which consists of former Orange players – were trying to coordinate an effort to take care of and provide for their brother, but as of 2013, they stopped taking donations when it became clear that it was not helping, and Cain was in fact beginning to refuse any help and also refusing to take his medication.
No official word has yet come out as to the cause of his death, but considering his health issues and refusal to stick with his medication, it’s easy to speculate. As CNYCentral has mentioned, Cain himself believed he suffered a life-altering brain injury at some point during his time at Syracuse, which led to memory loss and confusion for the former starting outside linebacker originally from Washington, DC.
Cain was the Washington, DC area Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year of high school, and then as a senior at Syracuse started 11 of 12 games for the Orange. He was just 33 years old.