Terry Glenn, a former record-setting N.F.L. receiver with the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys and an all-American with Ohio State, died on Monday after a one-vehicle traffic accident near Dallas. He was 43.
Glenn, who lived in the area, died shortly before 1 a.m. at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, less than 45 minutes after the car he was driving east on Highway 114 struck a concrete barrier and rolled over. Glenn was ejected.
A passenger, his fiancée, who was not identified, was treated for minor injuries, the authorities said. It was not known if the couple had been wearing seatbelts.
Glenn, who had had a difficult youth, in recent years started a foundation for troubled children. He had six children of his own, the oldest being 20.
He won the Biletnikoff Award (named after the former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff) as the nation’s top college receiver in 1995, piling up 1,411 yards and 17 touchdowns in his only year as a starter for Ohio State.
He played 12 seasons in the N.F.L., from 1996 to 2007, including six with the Patriots, five with the Cowboys and one with the Green Bay Packers.
The Patriots drafted Glenn seventh overall in 1996 when Bill Parcells was coach. That year, Glenn set an N.F.L. rookie record with 90 catches for a team that reached the Super Bowl before losing to the Packers, 35-21, at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Glenn is remembered for catching Tom Brady’s first touchdown pass, a 21-yarder in a 29-26 overtime win over San Diego at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., in 2001. Brady had taken over for an injured Drew Bledsoe that season and went on to lead the Patriots to their first of five Super Bowl titles when they defeated the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, also at the Superdome.
But Glenn had missed the playoffs, having been suspended by the Patriots for multiple unexcused absences from practices and meetings. The club also withheld a bonus payment because of off-field issues that included an arrest over an incident involving the mother of his 5-year-old son. The woman recanted the charges.
In his rookie year Glenn had a well-publicized clash with Parcells when the coach referred to him as “she.” Parcells said his comment had been taken out of context.
“He caught a pass his rookie year down at Giants Stadium,” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted Parcells as saying. “It was late in the game in the fourth quarter, and we were behind. We wound up winning that game in the last minute. I told him in the locker room, ‘You keep making plays like that, I’m going to call you Miss America.’ ”
He said of Glenn: “I loved him. He was just one of my guys, a special guy.”
The Patriots traded Glenn to the Packers before the 2002 season in exchange for two draft picks. He went to the Cowboys in 2003, reuniting with Parcells, who had been hired that year to coach the team.
In 2005 in Dallas, Glenn had a career-high seven touchdowns along with 1,136 yards. He finished his career with 8,823 yards receiving and 44 touchdowns.
In 2010, Glenn was arrested in Irving, Tex., on auto theft charges in what his lawyer said was a mix-up over a car rental. A year earlier, he had been arrested at an Irving hotel on charges of public intoxication and marijuana possession.
He remained in Texas after his playing days ended and started the 83 Kids Foundation, which assists troubled children. A product of a broken home himself, he was the foundation’s chairman.
Terry Tyree Glenn was born in Columbus, Ohio, on July 23, 1974. He never knew his father, who had abandoned the family. When he was 13, his mother, Donetta, 29, was beaten to death by a man whose romantic overtures toward her had been spurned. He abducted her and left her to die in an abandoned building in Columbus.
Glenn told The Chicago Tribune in 1997 that he briefly considered suicide until he realized he had to go on living for his younger sister’s sake.
“Once I looked at my little sister, who was 7 at the time and so sad, I knew it wasn’t about me,” he was quoted as saying. “She was the only person I was thinking about once we got the call, because how do you explain to a 7-year-old she wasn’t going to see her mother anymore?”
Afterward they went to live with aunts, being passed from home to home, four in the first year, he said.
He graduated from Brookhaven High School in Columbus in 1992. A walk-on player for the Ohio State Buckeyes, he went on to become a consensus first-team all-American in 1995.
Besides his fiancée, according to The Star-Telegram, he is survived by six children: Terry Jr., 20; Natalie, 14; Samantha, 12; Christian, 10; Vanessa, 8; and Greyson, 6 months.