- Former NFL player Keith McCants was found dead on Thursday at his Florida home after a suspected drug overdose.
- “This is still an open investigation,” police said.
- “He fought a long battle with his demons but, deep down, he was a good soul,” said a friend of the former player.
Former NFL player Keith McCants was found dead on Thursday at his Florida home following a suspected drug overdose, investigators said. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in an email that deputies were called to a St. Petersburg home at around 5:10 a.m. on Thursday.
McCants was dead inside the home, where others who made the 911 call apparently also lived. “It looks like it was a drug overdose, but we are awaiting confirmation from the coroner’s office,” Sheriff’s spokeswoman Amanda Sinni said. “This is still an open investigation.”
Keith McCants dies of alleged overdose
McCants, a linebacker, was the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mobile, Alabama native won All-America honors as a player academic at the University of Alabama, The Associated Press reported.
McCants played for three seasons in Tampa, followed by stints with the then Houston Oilers and Arizona Cardinals before his football career ended in 1995. McCants was arrested multiple times for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia over the years.
Keith McCants fought drugs for many years
His old friend, St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Robert Blackmon, said that he and others who knew McCants decided in 2010 to try to change his life. “This morning, we lost that battle,” he said. Blackmon in a Facebook post, adding that McCants had renewed optimism after hip replacement surgery in May.
“We started talking again about his future. The next 20 years. Buy a boat. His trademark smile was back. But for every battle that could help him fight, there were others that he had to face alone, ”Blackmon said.
McCants had financial problems
“Keith was a great athlete. Devastated because he and Coach Fuller, KT and Coach Perkins have left so recently and DT before them. Keith fought a long battle with his demons but, deep down, he was a good soul, ”wrote a friend of the former player.
McCants also struggled financially, detailed in 2012 in an ESPN documentary titled “Broke,” about former professional players who went through bankruptcy and other financial difficulties.
Former player joined police after retiring from NFL
In his NFL career, McCants played in 88 games and recorded 192 tackles, 13.5 quarterback sacks and a single interception that returned for a 46-yard touchdown with the Cardinals.
After retiring from soccer, McCants became Alabama’s first black marine police officer in the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
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