The former backup to Tom Brady was in the midst of a blossoming head coaching career at White Hall High School in Arkansas. PIC: New England Patriots
An absolutely gutting story to any sports fan surfaced on Tuesday. Ryan Mallett, who spent seven years in the NFL for the New England Patriots - along with the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens - passed away in a drowning accident on Tuesday. He was 35 years old.
Mallett, who stood at 6-foot-7, had a standout career as an Arkansas Razorback after spending a year at Michigan. He started all 26 games he played in during his two years in Fayetteville, throwing over 19 touchdown passes and throwing for 7,400+ yards in that timeframe.
Mallett went on to get drafted in the third round by the Patriots, using the pick they received from sending Randy Moss back to the Vikings just a few months beforehand. At that point, it was a shock to many Pats fans, simply because it was the highest-drafted quarterback in New England since they picked Drew Bledsoe at #1 overall in 1993. Of course, the journey of who'd be replacing Tom Brady only became more cyclical as time went on; if it would be Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett, or another dark horse is still something Patriots fans continue to debate.
Mallett only saw glimpses of the field as a Patriot; the QB room only continued to get more crowded as Tim Tebow, Brian Hoyer, and others came into the picture. He briefly became the starter under Bill O'Brien's Houston Texans, starting six of the nine games he played there.
While Mallett had his struggles with the law over the duration of his career and beyond, he had a newfound love & appreciation for coaching high school football that set him on the right path. He was an assistant coach at Mountain Home High School in Arkansas, and then took the head coaching role at White Hall High School nearby.
White Hall's school district asked the community to mourn with them on Tuesday. “It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett. 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.”
A plethora of old teammates & NFL stars chimed in about the loss. "Horrible news to read about Ryan Mallett. Gone way too soon. Rest in Peace brother" said JJ Watt, who spent time with Mallett on the Houston Texans.
While Mallett never stood out with his statistics or his notoriety on the field, he's clearly missed by his NFL community and by the teams he played for.