Former NFL star Ryan Mallett has died. He was 35.
The White Hall School District in Arkansas, where Mallett worked as head coach of varsity football, first confirmed the athlete’s death on Tuesday, June 27, via their official Facebook page.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett. Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator,” the post read. “We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches, and the White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”
The Okaloosa Country Sheriff’s Office first announced on Tuesday that a tourist had died in an apparent drowning offshore of Gulf Shore Drive in Destin, Florida. “A group of individuals were reportedly struggling offshore when a man went under,” their official Twitter page read at the time. “He was not breathing when lifeguards found and pulled him out. Tragically lifesaving measures weren’t successful.”
The Sheriff’s Office later confirmed via Twitter that “the victim is identified as 35-year-old Ryan Mallett of Arkansas.” They added: “We send our heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends, and loved ones in his tragic passing.”
Mallett, who played quarterback for the University of Arkansas, was drafted as a third-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2011 and served as backup to Tom Brady for four years. He was later traded to the Houston Texans before playing with the Baltimore Ravens from 2015 to 2017.
Following news of his death, the Patriots shared a heartfelt tribute about their former teammate via Twitter. “The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected passing of former quarterback Ryan Mallett,” the team tweeted on Tuesday alongside a snap of Mallet in the signature uniform. “Our thoughts are with the Mallett family, his former teammates and all who are mourning his loss.”
J.J. Watt, who played with the Arkansas native on the Texans, also took to social media to honor his former teammate, tweeting, “Horrible news to read about Ryan Mallett. Gone way too soon. Rest In Peace brother.”
University of Arkansas’ athletic director, Hunter Yurachek, for his part, said the school “lost an incredibly special person” on Tuesday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and teammates of Ryan Mallett,” Yurachek tweeted at the time.
Mallett played in 21 games, went 3-5 as a starter and compiled 1,835 passing yards, nine touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in the span of his NFL career.
After his retirement from professional football in 2017, Mallet was hired at White Hall High School in 2022 after beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Mountain Home High School.
“I always knew I was going to coach,” Mallett said after being named head coach at White Hall, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette at the time. “It’s just natural for me. I understand it. I get how everything works, and then I just love football. You get to teach kids the right way at a young age, and that’s something I really enjoy.”