Written by Nicole Auerbach, Bruce Feldman, and Jeff Zrebeck
Former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett died Tuesday in Florida, according to the school district where he coached high school football. He was 35 years old.
A source in Michigan confirmed the athlete that Mallet had drowned in Florida.
Mallett, who began his college career at Michigan, is best known for his years at Arkansas, setting more than a dozen records and revitalizing the program. He holds the Arkansas school record for single-season rushing yards (3,869 yards) and touchdowns (32). He is considered by many around the program to be the best quarterback in Razorback history. Mallet was known for his incredible arm strength and the hype that surrounded him; He was named Texas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2006 and the No. 2 player in the class of 2007, according to 247Sports.
“We are shocked and saddened by the passing of Ryan Mallett,” the Arkansas football program said in a statement. “He was a Razorback legend with a larger-than-life talent and personality to match. He has led our show to some of our best moments in recent memory. He will be missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother Debbie and his extended family.”
Mallett was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He backed up quarterback Tom Brady for three seasons before being traded to the Houston Texans in 2014. Between his time in Houston and subsequent seasons as the Baltimore Ravens, Mallett eventually started eight NFL games.
“The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of former quarterback Ryan Mallett,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with Mallett’s family, his former team-mates and all who are mourning his loss.”
After his playing days were over, Mallett moved into coaching, first as an assistant coach and later as a head coach at Whitehall High School in Arkansas. He had become head coach in February 2022 and served in that capacity until the time of his death.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” the Whitehall 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 White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”
How will I remember Mallet?
Mallett was a huge recruit, literally, right out of high school. He went into the Elite 11 as a 5-star QB heading into Michigan. He got the nickname Big Tex, he was big and his arm was bigger. Mallett was ahead of everyone else there, except for LSU’s JaMarcus Russell, who was there as a consultant.
Memories of that week always stuck with me whenever I heard Mallet’s name: the only arm I’d ever seen that was strong was Russell’s. At that camp, both of them could dribble the ball so hard, with so much juice on it, that when they threw on goals on a QB challenge, it would go through the ground with so much heat that the ball would take a hit. Take off anyone’s leg if they are in the line of fire.
The other memory of him pushing me was of him playing NCAA Football. I don’t know if he purposely let me have an introduction, but he sure enjoyed talking trash every step of the way back, and he was pretty good at that, too. very good. What I realized was that his figure was about the size of his arm. – Feldman
What does baltimore mallet mean
Mallett started only three games for the Ravens over parts of three seasons, but he helped author one of the most unlikely wins in team history. The 2015 Ravens were 5-10 heading into their Week 16 matchup against their biggest rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they were decimated by injuries. Starting quarterback Joe Flacco was out for the season with a knee injury. Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen each started two games. The Crows officially signed Mallet on December 15.
Twelve days later, he led a 20-17 strikeout at home from the playoff-bound Steelers by throwing for 274 yards and a touchdown. Mallet wore a huge smile on his face as he ran off the field clutching the game ball. After his tough finish in Houston, you can only tell how much a win can be for him. And given how much the Ravens loved beating the Steelers, Mallett has earned a permanent place in Ravens lore. – Zrebek
what are they saying
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was “deeply saddened by Ryan’s tragic passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the many people whose lives he touched.”
Former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr released a statement about the former QB on his program.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of Ryan’s passing,” Carr said. “This is heartbreaking news. Prayers for Ryan and his family.”
(Photo by Wesley Heat/Getty Images)