Former NFL, USC offensive lineman Max Tuerk dies at 26 during a hike north of San Diego

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Max Tuerk, a All-America offensive lineman at Southern California, who was drafted by the Chargers, has died. He was 26.

Tuerk’s family said he died Saturday while hiking with his parents on a favorite trail in the Cleveland National Forest, north of San Diego. No detail has been provided.

“Max loved his teammates, coaches and schools,” the family said in a statement. “Max is a loving son and older brother, and his disappearance leaves a big hole in our hearts.”

Tuerk played for the Trojans from 2012-15. He was a freshman All-American and All-Pac-12 first team selection in 2014. Three-year starter, he played under three head coaches — Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton.

“Heartbroken by the loss of Max Tuerk,” Helton tweeted. “Incredible person, teammate, and Trojan horses. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

The Chargers selected Tuerk in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft, but a knee injury during his senior year affected his progress. Despite the Chargers from the list, it has been inactive for the entire season.

Before his second season, Tuerk, has been suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He said he has been tested positive after taking an over-the-counter supplements.

After being released by the Chargers, he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 and played one game before being cut in 2018.

Tuerk, who was Trabuco Canyon, California, played football at Santa Margarita Catholic high, where he helped the school win a state title in 2011.

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