Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who had a seven-year career in the NFL, died at the age of 35 on Tuesday in an apparent drowning at a Florida beach, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Mallett, a former NFL and the University of Arkansas quarterback was pronounced dead at a hospital, after the incident off the coast of Florida. The apparent drowning took place along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and Mallett’s age at the time of his death was 35 years old.
When a distress call was made about 2:12 p.m. local time on a beach in Destin, Florida, tragedy struck.
The event occurred as a group of swimmers along a sandbar struggled to retreat to the safety of the shore in the Gulf of Mexico. Ryan Mallett was among them, and he was later recognized as the person in need of immediate aid.
Mallett was lifeless when he was removed from the water and was transferred to a local hospital. Despite efforts to resuscitate him, he was declared dead.
The news of Ryan Mallett’s untimely passing sent shockwaves through the Arkansas Razorbacks football program, which expressed profound sadness and disbelief. In a heartfelt statement, they remembered Mallett as a true Razorback legend, possessing extraordinary talent and a vibrant personality that left an indelible mark.
Under his leadership, the program witnessed unforgettable triumphs, and his absence will be deeply felt by all who had the privilege of knowing him. The thoughts and prayers of the Razorbacks community are extended to his mother, Debbie, and his extended family during this difficult time.
Mallett’s College Football Odyssey
The White Hall School District, where Mallett dedicated himself to coaching high school football, also mourned the loss of their beloved coach and esteemed educator. With heavy hearts, they shared the news of Coach Ryan Mallett’s passing, emphasizing his cherished role and impact on the lives of his students and fellow coaches.
They earnestly requested prayers for his grieving family, his team, the students he mentored, and the entire White Hall School District staff, all left grappling with the profound void left behind by his absence.
In 2010, he passed for 3,869 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 64.7 completion %, receiving second-team All-SEC honors for the second year in a row. He came in ninth place in the 2010 Heisman Trophy vote.
“We are shocked and saddened by the passing of Ryan Mallett,” the Arkansas football program said in a tweet. “He was a Razorback legend with big-time talent and a big-time personality.” He guided our program to some of its most memorable moments in recent memory. Everyone who knew him will miss him. His mother Debbie and his entire family are in our thoughts and prayers.”
Mallett was drafted 74th overall by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draught. Coach Bill Belichick noted at the time that the club could never have enough quarterback depth, therefore Mallett was chosen as one of Tom Brady’s backups.
“We just felt like he was a good player,” stated Belichick at the time. “He’s won in every school he’s attended, including high school and college.” He’s an interesting person to chat with.”
Mourning the Passing of Ryan Mallett
Ryan Mallett’s football career began with strong performances at the University of Arkansas, where he excelled in a pro-style offence under coach Bobby Petrino.
His outstanding collegiate career piqued the interest of the New England Patriots, who took him in the third round in the 2011 NFL Draught.
The Patriots admired Mallett’s powerful arm and talents, with Coach Belichick praising his improvement and preparedness in comparison to other quarterbacks they had seen.
Mallett had experience in the NFL with many teams, including the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens.
Despite minimal playing time as Tom Brady’s backup in New England, Mallett’s reputation grew as a result of his outstanding collegiate accomplishments. He was traded to the Houston Texans in 2014 and started six games for them over two seasons before being released in October 2015. Mallett later joined the Baltimore Ravens, where he made two starts in eight games through 2017.
Ryan Mallett’s football journey began at the University of Michigan, where he played as a backup quarterback behind Chad Henne during his freshman year. Recognized as one of Arkansas’ finest high school quarterbacks, Mallett committed to Michigan before transferring to the University of Arkansas when coach Lloyd Carr retired.
At Arkansas, he showcased his talent as the starting quarterback for his sophomore and junior seasons before deciding to enter the NFL draft after his junior year.
Mallett was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draught by the New England Patriots. Despite mostly serving as a backup to the renowned Tom Brady, Mallett acquired vital experience with the Patriots.
He was traded to the Houston Texans in 2014, where he got the opportunity to make his impact as a starting quarterback. Mallett appeared in nine games for the Texans, starting six of them, before being released in the midst of the 2015 season.
Mallett’s Stints with the Texans and Ravens
Following his departure from the Texans, Mallett found a new opportunity with the Baltimore Ravens. He joined the team in 2015 and made eight appearances, including two starts, during his time with them, extending until the conclusion of the 2017 season.
Throughout his career, Mallett experienced both highs and lows, transitioning from a promising college quarterback to an NFL backup, and later receiving opportunities to start for different teams. Despite the challenges he faced, Mallett’s journey showcased his resilience and dedication to the sport he loved.
Ryan Mallett had an immediate impact in the SEC after moving from the University of Michigan to the Razorbacks in 2008. Despite missing a year due to NCAA transfer regulations, Mallett emerged as a strong force in a conference dominated by Tim Tebow.
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He topped the SEC in passing yards and touchdowns in both 2009 and 2010, routinely generating remarkable performances of over 3,600 yards and 30 touchdowns each season.
Mallett’s outstanding performance earned him All-SEC second-team honours, placing him behind Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow in 2009 and Cam Newton in 2010. In the next year, he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy vote.
With one year of eligibility remaining, Mallett decided to enter the 2011 NFL draft. Initially anticipated to be a first-round pick, he ended up falling to the third round and was drafted by the New England Patriots to serve as Tom Brady’s backup. Mallett spent two seasons in this role before eventually being traded to the Houston Texans.
Mallett started two games in his first season with the Texans in 2014. His brilliance was on display in his debut game, as he threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for him, he tore his pectoral muscle at the next week’s start.
The next season, Mallett started as a backup but was given the opportunity to start in Weeks 2 and 3, when he totaled 472 yards and two touchdowns. He was terminated four weeks later after skipping the team’s charter aircraft to Miami after being benched in Week 4 due to a huge loss.
Mallett’s Position as a Devoted Patriots Backup
In December 2015, the Baltimore Ravens signed Mallett after their starting quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a season-ending injury. During his time with the Ravens, Mallett recorded career-high passing yards in each of his two starts.
He subsequently served as Flacco’s backup for the next two seasons and played his final NFL game in October 2017.
Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, shared insights into Ryan Mallett’s football journey during his college years. Mallett initially played for Michigan in 2007 but later transferred to Arkansas due to changes in Michigan’s coaching staff and offensive strategy.
Belichick acknowledged Mallett’s proficiency in operating a pro-style offense under coach Petrino, commenting in 2011 that he was impressed with Mallett’s progress compared to other quarterbacks they had observed.
Belichick issued a statement on Tuesday expressing his great sympathy over the terrible death of Ryan Mallett.
He expressed his profound sympathies to Mallett’s family and all those whose lives he touched, emphasizing that he is thinking of them and praying for them during this terrible time.
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Mallett saw little playing experience as a backup to Tom Brady in New England, appearing in only 24 plays. This was primarily due to Brady’s exceptional endurance since he was seldom substituted during games.
Mallett was traded to the Houston Texans in preparation for the 2014 season. Over two seasons with the Texans, he appeared in nine games, starting six of them, before being released in October 2015.