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Former NFL QB Ryan Mallett drowns, dies at age of 35

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett, who played for the New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens, drowned in Florida, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday. Mallett was 35.

Mallett, identified initially as a tourist, drowned offshore of Gulf Shore Drive in Destin, Florida, according to the Okaloosa Sheriff's Department. Per the sheriff's department, a group of individuals were struggling in the waters when Mallett went under. He was not breathing when lifeguards pulled him out and lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

"The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected passing of former quarterback Ryan Mallett," the team said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the Mallett family, his former teammates and all who are mourning his loss."

A third-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2011 NFL Draft, Mallett was with the Pats through the 2013 season before he was traded to the Texans. He wrapped up his career with the Ravens from 2015-2017. Across his NFL career, Mallett played in 21 games, going 3-5 as a starter and compiling 1,835 passing yards, nine touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

Mallett began his college playing career at Michigan before he transferred to Arkansas, starring with the Razorbacks in back-to-back 30-TD seasons.

He was taken 74th overall in the 2011 draft, as he was seen by some as a potential first-rounder but fell to the Patriots in the third round, where he would back up Tom Brady in 2012 and 2013.

Mallett was traded from the Patriots to the Texans ahead of the 2014 season. He started six games over a season-plus with Houston, his first career start coming against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 16, 2014. Mallett quarterbacked Houston to a 23-7 win, his first career TD pass memorably going to defensive end J.J. Watt on a 2-yard score.

"Horrible news to read about Ryan Mallett," Watt tweeted. "Gone way too soon. Rest in Peace brother."

Mallett was eventually released by the Texans during the 2015 season and signed by the Ravens to replace an injured Matt Schaub later in the year. During his time with the Ravens, Mallett famously led Baltimore to a dramatic 20-17 win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16 of the '15 season.

Mallett was the head football coach at White Hall (Arkansas) High, having coached his first season in 2022.

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