Former NFL, Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett dies in apparent drowning at age 35

Former NFL and University of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett died in an apparent drowning incident along Florida’s Gulf Coast. He was 35 years old.

Arkansas’ It was reported by Deltaplex News Tuesday that Mallett was transported after the incident from a beach in Destin, Florida, to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officials with White Hall School Districtwhere Mallett worked, confirmed his death. Mallett was the football coach at White Hall High School.

“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of coach Ryan Mallett,” reads the statement. “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.”

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the nature of Mallett’s death in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“A tourist died in an apparent drowning off Gulf Shore Drive in Destin,” the statement read. “A group of individuals were reportedly struggling offshore when one man went under. He was not breathing when lifeguards found and pulled him out. Tragically, life-saving measures were unsuccessful.”

OCSO later confirmed the man identified as “a tourist” was Mallett after his next of kin were notified. News of Mallett’s death arrives mid 11 reported deaths from rip currents along the Gulf Coast in recent weeks.

Ryan Mallett died in an apparent drowning accident in Destin, Florida. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Mallett played in college as a freshman at Michigan before transferring to Arkansas, where he played two seasons. He was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He played seven seasons in the NFL with the Patriots, Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens.

A native of Batesville, Arkansas, Mallett was one of the best high school quarterbacks to ever play in his home state. He committed to Michigan and made 11 appearances as a freshman backup to Chad Henne. He transferred to Arkansas after the retirement of Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and started as a sophomore and junior with the Razorbacks. He declared for the draft after his junior season to join the NFL.

Mallett played sparingly as a backup to Tom Brady, and the Patriots traded him to the Texans in 2014. He made nine appearances, including six starts, for Texas before they released him midseason in 2015. He then signed with the Ravens, where he played eight games, including two starts, through the 2017 season.

He joined White Hall as a football coach in 2022.

The football world reacts to the death of Ryan Mallett

Friends, teammates, opponents and organizations from Mallett’s football career reacted to his death.

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