Funeral held for slain Riders running back Joe McKnight

Five former New York Jets teammates were pallbearers at the funeral for football player Joe McKnight, who was shot and killed Dec. 1 during a road-rage incident in suburban New Orleans.

“Joe had the ability to make everybody feel he was your best friend,” former Jets linebacker Bart Scott told WVUE-TV (

Several ministers spoke during the funeral service attended by hundreds of people at New Home Ministries, news media reported. Those who attended received programs with photos of McKnight, 28, his family, and his 7-year-old son, Jaiden, ‘ The Times-Picayune reported (

Bishop William McPherson told the crowd that he had baptized McKnight and several of his siblings, The Advocate reported ( “Joe is with the Lord,” McPherson said.

Ronald Gasser, 54, has been arrested on a manslaughter charge in McKnight’s death.

McKnight played for the Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016. Roughriders players, coaches and staff held a small ceremony at Mosaic Stadium’s Green and White Lounge in Regina on Monday to honour McKnight.

McKnight played for the Jets from 2010 to 2013. His pallbearers were former teammates Scott, Sione Po’uha, Antonio Cromartie, Willie Colon, and D’Brickashaw. Another pallbearer was LenDale White, who played at the University of Southern California prior to McKnight’s arrival.

As the casket and mourners headed from the church to Restlawn Cemetery in suburban Avondale, the Free Spirit Brass Band played “I’ll Fly Away.”

Mourners included Darryl Pierce, 58, who wore a Jets hat and shirt and green pants to honour McKnight. He said he remembered McKnight playing for John Curtis Christian High School against his own son’s team, Carver High School.

“He used to put on a show against us. Against everybody,” Pierce said.

“Anytime he touched the ball he could take it the distance and that was exciting about Joe,” said Mark Sanchez, who played with McKnight at USC and for the Jets. “But we all remember him joking around all the time, and the warm heart he had.”

Earlier classmates were there, too.

“We shared ACT math together his senior year. He had big plans. He would talk about everything he said he was going to do,” Michelle Maddie, a high-school classmate, told WWL-TV ( “He said, ‘Before I leave this Earth, the world will know who I am.’ And I think everybody does.”

– AP

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