- Ryan Mallett died at the age of 35 due to a tragic drowning accident while on vacation in Florida
- He coached a boy at White Hall High School who was shot at age 18 in May
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
The kind-hearted nature of tragic ex-NFL star Ryan Mallett has been exposed by the mother of a slain high school student coached by the quarterback.
Ben Redix, 18, was coached by Mallett at White Hall in Arkansas before he was shot and killed just days before his graduation in May.
And such was his bond with the boy, Redix’s mother has revealed “I think he thought Ben was his son,” in an interview with KARK 4 News.
In a tragic twist, Mallett lost his life in an apparent drowning incident while on vacation with his girlfriend in Destin, Florida on Tuesday.
The news will have come as a sickening blow to Redix’s mother, Shaneisha Robinson, who also revealed that Mallett had acted as her confidant in the months after her son was killed.
“Sometimes he would come over here crying or I would go over there crying,” she said, before adding that the news was “like someone pouring alcohol on an open wound.”
She went on to explain that she had spoken to Mallett before he went on holiday when he stopped by to tell her he was going away and insisted she contact him if she needed anything.
“He said ‘Little one, I’m going out of town.’ He said ‘I love you’ and I said I love you too, give me something back,” she explained.
Shortly after, Mallett had also lost his life at the age of 35, with tributes pouring in from across the footballing world and beyond.
Madix’s mother also told a heartwarming story about Mallett’s caring nature and how he came to their house to help the young boy.
‘Ben didn’t want to go to training one day and he said, “Mum, if the coach comes, tell him I’m sick.” Ryan came knocking on the door and I said he was in his room. So he walked into the room and said, “Boy get up and go to practice.”
Destin Beach Safety, meanwhile, said in a announcement that no rip tides were present in the area around where Mallett was found Tuesday and said safety yellow flags were in place, correcting earlier reports that his death was due to water conditions.
Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Alden added, “It just appears to be a tragic accident and nothing to do with the conditions of the surf or the tide or the current.”
According to Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office investigators, “Mallett began struggling while attempting to swim to another sandbar about 150 feet off the beach near Gulf Shores Drive in Destin at approximately 2:15 p.m.”
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Mallett’s death in a statement.
“A tourist died in an apparent drowning off Gulf Shore Drive in Destin,” it read Tuesday night.
‘A group of people were reportedly fighting offshore when one man went under.
“He was not breathing when lifeguards found and pulled him out. Tragically, life-saving measures were not successful.’
Mallett was taken from a beach in Florida to the hospital after first responders were called to the area at 14.12. He was pronounced dead at the emergency room in Destin.
Destin Beach Safety said in its statement that a beach lifeguard had called 911 and reported six people struggling to get back to shore.
Mallett was on vacation with his girlfriend Madison Carter, KNWA reported.
The former Arkansas Razorbacks star went on to play for the New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens in the NFL.
His time in New England included backing up seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady for two seasons.
‘We lost a great man. Thank you for everything Ryan,’ Brady wrote on Tuesday night.
“Praying for the Mallett family and all their loved ones tonight.”
Mallett’s former New England coach, Bill Belichick, also paid tribute to his former player on Tuesday night.
“I am extremely saddened by Ryan’s tragic passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the many people whose lives he touched.’
Mallett played in the NFL from 2011 to 2017 after a college career with Michigan and Arkansas, throwing for 62 touchdowns in two seasons with the Razorbacks.
He returned to the latter state to coach at White Hall High School, assuming the role in February 2022.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of coach Ryan Mallett,” the White Hall School District said in a statement Tuesday.
‘Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and teacher. We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches and the White Hall School District staff in your prayers.’