The devastated girlfriend of ex-NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett has spoken out for the first time since his tragic drowning death last week. Madison Carter was on vacation with Mallett, 35, when he got into trouble swimming at a beach in Miami and was unable to be rescued.
Carter, a medical student at Arkansas State, expressed her gratitude to those who had reached out to her since the tragedy in a Facebook story. Later, she shared a more detailed message on Sunday evening through a longer Facebook post.
"I trust that God has a plan for everything, but I don't think I will never understand why this happened. I'm so sorry I couldn't save you, and I hope you know how hard I tried," Carter wrote.
"Everyone knows how talented, dedicated, and passionate you were about the game of football. Those of us who were lucky enough to know your heart know that it was even bigger than your larger-than-life personality and stature.
"Nothing was ever about you, it was always about others. Multiple times, I heard you say 'there are so many good people in this world,' and that statement alone shows what kind of person you were. Always looking for the good.
"I can never thank you enough for loving me the way that you did. In such a short time, you showed me the love I have prayed for my entire life. You loved me fiercely and unapologetically.
"We were planning our future. We were just getting started. I'm sure some think we're crazy for feeling the way we did about each other in such a short time. I thought we were crazy at first too. But you helped me understand that when two souls connect the way ours did, love has no set timeline.
Carter and Mallett had made their relationship official on Facebook on June 1, just a few weeks prior to the tragic incident.
The sudden death of Mallett, at the age of 35, deeply affected the football community, particularly at White Hall High School where he served as a coach.
Will Miss Him Always
Close friends of Mallett have mentioned that he had truly found his calling as a coach, and one mother recounted the strong bond her son had with Mallett before her son's tragic death in a shooting incident.
"Words cannot convey how badly I miss you," part of Carter's facebook post read. "I hope you know how loved you are. By myself, your amazing family, your friends, your teammates, your students, and countless others. I don't know how I'll ever get past this. But I'm so honored to love you and be loved by you. You changed my life, and I'm forever grateful for the time we had. No amount of time would have ever been enough. I love you, Ryan. Please watch over us. I can't wait to see you again."
According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, Mallett drowned off the coast of the Florida panhandle though riptides were not a cause of his death.
"The tragic loss of life, it's always difficult when we lose a tourist or resident here, but we have no indication here of any dangerous conditions out there," Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement. "The entire Okaloosa County, as well as Destin, were not under red flags or double red flags, despite some of the misperceptions out there."
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.
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.