Former NFL player Keith McCants has reportedly passed away at 53 years old. An Associated Press report indicates that an overdose is the suspected cause of death. In an email sent to the Associated Press, officers said they arrived at McCants' Florida home at just after 5 a.m. on September 2. Shortly thereafter, McCants was pronounced dead.
"It appears it was a drug overdose, but we are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner's office," Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Amanda Sinni said.
"This is still an open investigation."
News of McCants death saddened many of his friends, former teammates, and fans. St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Robert Blackmon wrote in a Facebook post that McCants had decided to turn his life around beginning in 2010 and had been doing much better recently.
"This morning, we lost that battle," Blackmon wrote on Facebook, according to the Associated Press.
"We began to talk about his future again. The next 20 years. Buying a boat. His signature grin was back. But for every battle I could help him fight, there were others he had to face alone."
McCants rose to prominence in the late 1980s as a star linebacker at the University of Alabama. In 1989, the Crimson Tide won the SEC Championship while also becoming an All-American and the CBS National Defensive Player of the Year. After leaving the University of Alabama, McCants became a first-round NFL Draft pick. Through six NFL seasons, he recorded 192 tackles, 13.5 quarterback sacks, and one interception. He retired in 1995 and went on to become the first Black marine police officer in Alabama at the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.