After asking Saturday on Twitter for assistance in hearing from Nix, Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly shared a remembrance Sunday of the affable former defensive lineman. “We carry these memories until we see you again,” Kelly wrote.
Jacksonville TV station WJAX reported Saturday that a car that matched the description of a vehicle Nix was last seen driving was pulled out of a pond near where he lived. No official cause of death has been released.
Nix’s brother told WJXT that the former Houston Texans and New York Giants player was “gone.” Family members said they last saw him Tuesday, when Nix left his father’s house without telling anyone where he was going.
A subsequent lack of communication from Nix was unusual for him, his brother said. A woman described by WJXT as Nix’s longtime girlfriend said he told her Tuesday that he was coming home after spending time with a friend, but he did not make it back to their residence and she didn’t hear from him again.
“I knew,” Stephanie Wingfield, Nix’s mother, told WTLV on Sunday. “One thing about a mother, we know. And I just started crying and I was like, ‘Lord, if my son, if he’s okay, you give me a peace, but if he’s not okay, you’ll give me a discomfort.’ And I felt sick.”
A high school standout in Jacksonville, Nix went on to help Notre Dame’s 2012 team reach the BCS championship game before making watch lists for several national awards as a senior in 2013. Knee issues cut short his college career, and they followed him to the NFL after Houston made him a third-round draft pick in 2014. He spent one season with the Texans and one with the Giants in 2015, briefly landed on Washington’s practice squad the following year and finished his career in 2017 after one last shot with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In December, Nix posted a video of himself in an ambulance wearing bandages and telling the camera he was “shot and robbed while I was putting air in my tires.” According to a police report, Nix was at a Jacksonville gas station shortly after 9 p.m. when he said two young men demanded something and shot him when he resisted.
“I’m alive everyone. The bullet that hit me ricocheted off my sternum into my lung,” Nix tweeted the next day. “Surgery is the next step so keep praying for me.”
Nix tweeted in December that he spent 10 days in the hospital, and his final posts on the site showed his support for the Fighting Irish.
As Notre Dame noted in a remembrance of Nix, he was “affectionately known as ‘Irish Chocolate’ or ‘Big Lou.’ ” Former teammate Michael Floyd, a wide receiver who played in the NFL from 2012 to 2018, described him on Twitter as “loving, caring, funny, energetic and just a guy everyone loved being around.”