The death of former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling has been ruled a suicide, Richmond police captain Yvonne Crowder told FoxSports.com on Saturday.
Crowder told the website that Easterling died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Richmond, Va. Easterling's wife, Mary Ann, announced the news on Thursday, but declined to release the cause of his death.
"Based on our investigation, we are ruling it a suicide," Crowder told FoxSports.com on Saturday.
Crowder told the website that Mary Ann Easterling called police at 6:14 a.m. Thursday morning upon discovering her husband's body. When police arrived at the home, Ray Easterling was dead and there was a handgun nearby, the police chief told FoxSports.com.
Easterling, who helped lead the team's vaunted defense in the 1970s, was part of a group of seven former players who sued the NFL in Philadelphia in August, claiming the league failed to properly treat players for concussion and tried to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries. It was the first potential class-action lawsuit that was filed.