Ryan Mallett’s girlfriend, Madison Carter, shared a heartfelt tribute to the late athlete days after he died at age 35.
“How do I even find the words,” Carter began in a Facebook post on Sunday, July 2. “I prayed for you for 27 years, and we finally found each other. I trust that God has a plan for everything, but I don’t think I will ever understand why this happened. I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you, and I hope you know how hard I tried.”
Carter went on to praise Mallett’s way of “always looking for the good” in others. “I can never thank you enough for loving me the way that you did,” she continued. “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.”
She concluded her post by saying she’s not sure how she’ll “ever get past” Mallett’s death. “But I’m so honored to love you and be loved by you,” Carter wrote. “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.”
Mallett’s death was announced on June 27 by the White Hall School District in Arkansas, where he worked as a varsity football coach.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett. Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator,” read a post on the district’s Facebook page. “We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches and the White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”
That same day, the Okaloosa Country Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced that a tourist had died in an apparent drowning in Destin. “A group of individuals were reportedly struggling offshore when a man went under,” read a statement on the office’s official Twitter page. “He was not breathing when lifeguards found and pulled him out. Tragically lifesaving measures weren’t successful.”
Authorities later confirmed via Twitter that “the victim is identified as 35-year-old Ryan Mallett of Arkansas,” adding, “We send our heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends and loved ones in his tragic passing.”
Mallett, who was a 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.
After retiring from pro football, Mallett began working as an assistant coach at Mountain Home High School in Arkansas in 2020. Last year, he began his job as the head football coach at White Hall High School.
Weeks before his death, Mallett made his romance with Carter public, changing his Facebook relationship status on June 1 to “In a Relationship with Madison Carter.” Later that month, Mallett shared a selfie of the couple, writing, “Appreciation post for my DR/driver/nurse Madison Carter.”