The Arkansas school district where Ryan Mallett coached high school football reported that he passed away on Tuesday. Mallett was a former Arkansas quarterback who later played seven seasons in the NFL. He was 35.
Mallett, 35, a tourist from Florida who was rescued from the ocean unconscious on a beach in Destin on Tuesday, was identified.
According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, he was among a group of individuals who were having difficulty returning to land. Officials first said that a man fell into the water and was brought out unconscious by lifeguards.
In a news release, the sheriff’s office stated that although “lifesaving measures were immediately undertaken,” the man was pronounced dead at the Destin Emergency Room.
The swimmer was later recognised by deputies as Mallett from Arkansas.
“We send out heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends, and loves ones in his tragic passing,” the sheriff’s office said.
Following the initial rumours of the death, tributes flooded in.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” White Hall School District said in a 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.”
Prior to transferring to Arkansas, Mallett started his college career at Michigan. In 2009 and 2010, he started a total of 26 games for Arkansas. He led the Razorbacks to an 8-5 record and victory in the Liberty Bowl in 2009 as a redshirt sophomore for coach Bobby Petrino, for which he was named Offensive MVP.
His greatest year was 2010, when he passed for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns while being named to the second team of the SEC for the second consecutive season. In the 2010 Heisman Trophy vote, he came in sixth place.
“Our @RazorbackFB family lost an incredibly special person today,”Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and teammates of Ryan Mallett. #OneRazorback”
— Hunter Yurachek (@HunterYurachek) June 27, 2023
Mallett was chosen by the New England Patriots in the third round (74th overall) in the 2011 NFL Draught. Mallett was chosen as one of Tom Brady’s backups because, according to head coach Bill Belichick, the team could never have enough quarterback depth.
“We just felt like he was a good player. He’s won everywhere he’s been — high school, college. He’s an impressive guy to talk to,” Belichick said at the time.
Belichick explained how the Patriots had studied Mallett’s collegiate career from the time he enrolled at Michigan in 2007 until he transferred to Arkansas in response to a new Wolverines coaching staff implementing a different offence.
Mallett was a pro-style quarterback at Arkansas under Petrino, and Belichick remarked how well he performed there in 2011, saying: “He’s pretty far along relative to some other quarterbacks we’ve seen.”
In a statement Tuesday, Belichick said he is “extremely saddened by Ryan’s tragic passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many people whose lives he touched.”
Brady’s durability and infrequent game exits in New England limited Mallett to just 24 snaps as his backup.
Prior to the 2014 season, he was traded to the Houston Texans, where he spent portions of two seasons playing nine games, starting six of them. He was released from the organisation in October 2015, and subsequently signed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he continued to play until 2017.
“The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected passing of former quarterback Ryan Mallett,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the Mallett family, his former teammates and all who are mourning his loss.”
Mallett made eight starts over his career’s 21 NFL games of appearance. His 1,835 passing yards included 9 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
He started his coaching career as an assistant at Mountain Home High School before being hired as the head football coach at White Hall High School in 2022.
“I always knew I was going to coach,” Mallett said after he was named the coach at White Hall, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “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.”