Former NFL and University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett has died aged 35. Mallet died in an apparent drowning accident on Tuesday along Florida's Gulf Coast, according to the Deltaplex News in Arkansas. He was rushed to hospital from the beach but was pronounced dead on arrival, multiple sources reported.
The NFL released a statement on Mallett's death. "It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett," the statement reads. "Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator. We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches, and the White Hall School District staff in your prayers."
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office also confirmed Mallett's death in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "A tourist died in an apparent drowning offshore of Gulf Shore Drive in Destin," the statement read.
"A group of individuals were reportedly struggling offshore when a man went under. He was not breathing when lifeguards found and pulled him out. Tragically lifesaving measures weren't successful."
Mallett, the former quarterback, had a brief stint at the University of Michigan before gaining prominence at the University of Arkansas from 2008 to 2010.
He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Throughout his career, which ended in 2017, Mallett played for the Patriots, Texans, and Ravens.
The Patriots expressed their profound sorrow upon hearing the news of Ryan Mallett's untimely and unforeseen demise. "Our thoughts are with the Mallett family, his former teammates and all who are mourning his loss," New England Patriots tweeted.
The NFL community was left in disbelief upon receiving the tragic news of the unexpected passing of one of their own. This news affected not only the league as a whole but also deeply impacted former defensive lineman and esteemed Houston Texans player J.J. Watt, who had recently retired from the sport.
Watt and the departed player were teammates during their time in Houston, adding another layer of personal sorrow to the already shocking loss.
"Horrible news to read about Ryan Mallett. Gone way too soon. Rest in Peace brother," he wrote on Twitter with a praying hands emoji.
Gone too Soon
Mallett had eight career NFL starts. Tributes started pouring in from his former teammates as soon as news of his death broke.
"Tough one to swallow," former Patriots receiver Julian Edelman tweeted. "Thoughts are with the family."
"Rest in peace Ryan Mallet! Gone way too soon, sending my condolences to his family!," longtime New England running back James White wrote.
"Our @RazorbackFB family lost an incredibly special person today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and teammates of Ryan Mallett," Hunter Yurachek tweeted.
In 2009, Mallett threw for 3,624 yards, recording 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. The following year, he continued his impressive performance by throwing for 3,869 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
After his junior season, Mallett decided to enter the NFL Draft, where he was selected by the New England Patriots to learn from quarterback Tom Brady. However, his time with the Patriots was brief, and he was soon traded to the Houston Texans, where he played for a season and a half before joining the Baltimore Ravens.
Mallett spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Ravens before his professional football career came to an end.
Since February last year, Mallett assumed the role of head football coach at White Hall High School in Arkansas. In a recent interview with Whole Hog Sports, Mallett discussed the growth he experienced throughout his journey of transitioning into coaching and the maturation process he underwent.
"I hope I'm a man now," he said. "I'm 35. That's halfway to 70.
"I did a lot of things as a kid. I know how to conduct my business now.
"My job is to help shape and mold young people. This is the time a lot of them are finding out about themselves. I hope I can help them."
Mallett was trying to follow in the footsteps of his family where there are several coaches. "Everyone in my family — my dad and his brothers — go by Coach," he said. "Coach Mallett, that's all I've ever heard. I was going to be a coach.
"I started going to practices as a toddler. My earliest memory of a practice was going to one of my dad's practices and I climbed on the blocking rack and got my head stuck. I was hanging from my head and they had to pull me out."