Karle's Korner: Remembering a class act

Karle's Korner: Remembering a class act

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FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle. FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle.
AUBURN, AL (WBRC) -

The following is a sports commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:

I wanted to add a few personal thoughts to the story I sent out earlier today on Philip Lutzenkirchen. While it's never fun to report on news such as this, let's remember that it's not about us, but about a fine young man- a man of the people, a man of God. In 33 years of broadcasting, I would have to put Lutzy near the top of my "All Class" list. An excellent student and athlete, the Marietta native will be remembered more for what he did off the field than what he did on it. Philip Lutzenkirchen made it easy for kids to find their role model, and now, that role model is gone much too soon. In the blink of an eye, a fine young man has departed- but we're all better for knowing him.

Below is more information on the accident that took the life of the former Auburn tight end (via my earlier post) As always, your thoughts are welcomed.

The Auburn football nation is mourning the loss of one of its heroes after former tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen was killed early Sunday morning in a single-car crash south of LaGrange, GA. Gordy Wright, the Director of Public Information for the Georgia Department of Public Safety/Georgia State Patrol informs me that Lutzenkirchen was one of four passengers travelling in a 2006 Chevy Tahoe at the intersection of Upper Big Springs Road and Lower Big Springs Road early Sunday morning.

According to Wright, the driver of the vehicle, 22-year old Joseph Ian Davis of Atlanta, was partially ejected while Lutzenkirchen, sitting in the back seat of the vehicle, was ejected. Both Davis and Lutzenkirchen, age 23, were killed.

Two other passengers were injured in the crash. Back seat passenger Elizabeth Craig, age 22 from Eatonton, GA was ejected and taken to West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange. Front seat passenger Christian Case of Dadeville, AL, who was wearing a seat belt, was treated and released from West Georgia Medical.

Jeff Cook, Chief Coroner of Troup County, GA tells me that driver Davis ran a stop sign and lost control of his vehicle. The Tahoe travelled nearly 500 feet, flipped and came to rest in the back yard of a church. PIO Wright of the Georgia State Patrol adds the Tahoe came to rest on the roof. He says that blood was drawn to determine if alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash.

Philip Lutzkenkirchen enjoyed a spectacular football career at Auburn University. While he is perhaps best known for hauling in the game-winning catch from Cam Newton at the 2010 Iron Bowl, he also caught 13 other TD passes in his career, placing him number one in AU history for tight ends. In 2012, Lutzenkirchen suffered a severe hip injury against Ole Miss, but worked hard to re-hab the hip in hopes of playing in the NFL. Lutzenkirchen signed a free agent deal with the St Louis Rams, but was released in 2013. This spring he had been volunteering with the football team at St James School in Montgomery.

Philip Lutzenkirchen was beloved by the Auburn family and respected by is opponents. His parents, Mike & Mary, were perhaps more proud of their son's faith and his giving spirit than they were of any football accomplishment. And Philip's sister Abby, a soccer player at the University of Alabama, as seen in a piece run last fall on FOX6, was certainly proud of her 'bro.

While former and current players, coaches, friends and fans have taken to Twitter to express their sympathy, funeral arrangements are pending. Auburn officials are expected to release more information soon.

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