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Former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett passes away in drowning accident

Mallett’s first career NFL start came in a victory against the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

Houston Texans v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2014 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Sad news came down the news wire Tuesday evening, as former Arkansas and NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett passed away on at the age of 35. Reports indicate that he drowned in Florida.

Mallett began his NFL career in 2011 when the New England Patriots selected him in the third round. It was a notable selection because Mallett had actually fallen, as some projected him to be a first-round pick, and when Bill Belichick pulled the trigger on him, it was the highest quarterback they’d drafted since Drew Bledsoe in 1993. It didn’t quite work out for him in New England, though — after three seasons with the Patriots, Mallett was traded to the Houston Texans in 2014 in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick.

Mallett was a backup with the Patriots in 2014, but finally started his first career game in Week 11 against...your Cleveland Browns. It was the “Brady Backup Bowl,” since Brian Hoyer was the Browns’ starting quarterback. Even though Mallett did not have an illustrious NFL career, he shined against the Browns, completing 20-of-30 passes for 211 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception in a 23-7 victory. You may remember that one of those touchdown passes came when DE J.J. Watt was inserted in the game on offense, catching a one-on-one fade pass against LB Christian Kirksey.

Mallett would also go on to play a couple of seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. The 2017 season was his last in the NFL, and most recently, he was coaching high school football since 2022 in White Hall, Arkansas.

Rest in Peace, Ryan.