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Keion Carpenter dead, former NFLer, Virginia Tech DB was 39

Buffalo Bills free safety Keion Carpenter returns an

Buffalo Bills free safety Keion Carpenter returns an interception against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 12, 2000, at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Photo Credit: AP / Kevin Rivoli

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Former NFL player and Virginia Tech defensive back and special teams standout Keion Carpenter has died.

The school announced Thursday that family members say that Carpenter died in Miami. He was 39 and the cause of death is unclear.

Carpenter intercepted 14 passes during his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons. He blocked six kicks at Virginia Tech, tying the school record.

He also founded The Carpenter House, designed to benefit children from low income homes through mentoring.

Former Hokies coach Frank Beamer recalled Carpenter, a Baltimore native, as “one of the rocks around which we built our program.”

The Hall of Fame coach says Carpenter “had a heart of gold.” Beamer says the former player’s work with The Carpenter House and other charitable organizations to help those in need “truly embodied the Virginia Tech spirit.”

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