“It’s been a sad couple days, when you lose someone who you feel very much has been a part of your family for a long time.”Patterson played in 41 game for Ball State, starting in 28 of them. After he went undrafted in 2015, he signed with the Patriots that May, but was released the following month.He got playing time with the Colts after he signed with the team that August. He made his NFL debut in Week 2, recording two tackles. He was released by Indianapolis that September, and after short stints with the Rams and Browns, Patterson faded out of the NFL spotlight in 2016. Former Ball State cornerback Eric Patterson was shot and killed early Saturday morning in Tampa Bay, Florida, the Tampa Bay Times reported .While Tampa Bay police haven’t confirmed the victim is Patterson, multiple family members told the Tampa Bay Times the 26-year-old was the one shot. According to police, the victim’s roommate woke up around 5 a.m. local time Saturday to a racket in the living room. When he went out to investigate, he saw his roommate lying on his back and another person fleeing the residence.The shooting victim died in the hospital. According to the report, the shooting did not appear to be random, although it’s unclear why the victim was shot.Tributes to Patterson began appearing Monday, including from his coach Mike Neu, who was Patterson’s college coach at Ball State, and high school coach Robert Weiner, who coached Patterson at Plant High School in Tampa.We are mourning the passing of one of our own, Eric Patterson. We are extremely saddened by this, and we ask that you please keep Eric and his family in your prayers.Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal. #EP pic.twitter.com/MZkMnKxRiS— Coach Mike Neu (@BSUCoachNeu) June 10, 2019Sad, heartbreaking time for our Plant Panthers Football Family. Eric Patterson will always be a loved Panther. We mourn his passing. Our prayers embrace his family. EP you will never be forgotten. Much love to all our guys. Cherish every moment we have w/ each other #AlwaysALink pic.twitter.com/zoygMJgGpy— Robert Weiner (@plantfball) June 9, 2019″He had a very gregarious personality, he was very affable and always smiling, always laughing,” Weiner told the Tampa Bay Times, adding that Patterson’s former teammates are devastated.