Ryan Mallett, a 35-year-old former quarterback for the NFL, died Tuesday while swimming in Florida.
Mallett ― who played for the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans during his career ― had been the head football coach for Arkansas’ White Hall High School since last year.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” the 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.”
Deltaplex News and CBS News reported that Mallett drowned in the Destin area. That’s about 50 miles up the Gulf Coast from Panama City Beach, which has had seven swimming deaths in the past nine days due to an intense rip current in the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s not clear what led to Mallett’s death.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office told CBS News that Mallett was with a group of people in the water by a sandbar and drowned while struggling to make it back to shore. He was not breathing when lifeguards pulled him to land, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The Patriots expressed their sympathies to Mallett’s family, saying the team is “deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected passing.”
J.J. Watt, Mallett’s one-time teammate on the Texans, also mourned his death. “Gone way too soon,” he tweeted, calling it horrible news.