Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who had a seven-year career in the NFL, died of drowning on a Florida beach on Tuesday. According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, He was 35 years old.
The sheriff’s office said first responders were called to a beach in Destin, Florida, around 2:12 p.m. local time as a group of people swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near a sandbar struggled to get back to shore. Was doing. A man, later identified as Mallett, was not breathing when he was pulled from the water and was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” said the White Hall, Arkansas school district where Mallett coached high school football. wrote in a post on his website, “Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and teacher. We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches and White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”
Mallett played for the University of Michigan for one season before transferring to Arkansas, where he passed for 7,493 yards and 62 touchdowns over two seasons. As a redshirt sophomore in 2009 under coach Bobby Petrino, he led the Razorbacks to an 8–5 record and victory in the Liberty Bowl, for which he earned Offensive MVP honors.
His best season came in 2010, when he threw for 3,869 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 64.7 completion percentage and earned second team All-SEC honors for the second year in a row. He finished seventh in voting for the 2010 Heisman Trophy.
“We are shocked and saddened by the passing of Ryan Mallett,” the Arkansas football program said. said in a statement posted on Twitter, “He was a Razorback legend with a larger-than-life talent and personality to match. He led our program to some of our best moments in recent memory. He will be missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with him Mom Debbie and her extended family.”
The New England Patriots selected Mallett with the 74th overall pick in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Coach Bill Belichick explained at the time that the team could never have enough depth at quarterback, which led him to select Mallett as one of Tom Brady’s backups.
Belichick said at the time, “We felt like he was a good player.” “Wherever he went, he won – high school, college. He’s an impressive figure to talk about.”
Belichick detailed how the Patriots had followed Mallett’s college career, starting at Michigan in 2007, and then when he transferred to Arkansas as a result of a new Wolverines coaching staff installing a different offense. At Arkansas, Belichick noted how Mallett operated effectively in a pro-style offense under Petrino, saying in 2011: “He’s much further along than some of the other quarterbacks we’ve seen.”
In a statement Tuesday, Belichick said he was “deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Ryan” and offered his condolences and prayers to Mallett’s family “and the many people whose lives he affected.”
“We lost a great man. Thanks Ryan for everything,” Brady wrote in a social media post.
Mallett only played 24 snaps as Brady’s backup in New England, which was a result of Brady’s durability and rarely coming out of games. He was traded to the Houston Texans prior to the 2014 season, where he played in nine games making six starts over parts of two seasons with the team before being released in October 2015. He later signed with the Baltimore Ravens, for whom he played in eight games until 2017, making two starts.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, “Ryan was part of us.” In a Twitter post by the team, “I will always remember his love for his teammates and thoroughly enjoy every football day I am here.”
In his first start on November 16, 2014, Mallett led Houston to a 23–7 victory in Cleveland. His first career TD pass was a 2-yarder to defensive end JJ Watt.
“Horrible news to read about Ryan Mallett,” Watt wrote in a tweet, “Gone too soon. Rest in peace brother.”
Mallett appeared in 21 NFL games and made eight starts in his career. He completed 190 of his 345 attempts for nine touchdowns, leading the NFL in 1,835 yards and 10 interceptions.
In 2022, Mallett was hired as the head football coach at White Hall High School in his native Arkansas, after beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Mountain Home High School.
According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, after being named coach in the White Hall, Mallett said, “I always knew I was going to get into coaching.” “It’s just natural to me. I understand it. I understand how everything works, and then I love football. You get a chance to teach kids the right way at an early age, and it’s such a great opportunity.” is something I really enjoy.”
ESPN’s Mike Reiss, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.