It’s always sad when someone we’re familiar with passes away, but it’s especially sad when they’re only 35 years old. On June 27, 2023, the death of former NFL player Ryan Mallett was announced. He was on vacation with his new girlfriend, Madison Carter, at the time of his death, which was mourned by athletes and organizations across the USA.
News of his death was first announced by Deltaplex News, a local news source for the Destin, Fla. area. While his reported cause of death is drowning, fans and friends are still curious about what exactly happened to him and how he could have drowned.
Ryan Mallett’s cause of death was drowning on the west coast of Florida.
On the afternoon of June 27, Ryan and several others were swimming along the Panama City Beach in Destin, Fla. It was initially reported he got caught up in a rip current. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Ryan’s passing on their Facebook page as well as further details of what happened.
“First responders were called to the beach behind 775 Gulf Shore Drive in Destin around 2:12 p.m.,” they wrote. “A group of people in the water near the second sandbar had reportedly been struggling to make their way back to shore. One of the individuals, an adult male [Mallet], went under and lifeguards say he was not breathing when pulled out. Lifesaving measures were immediately undertaken but the man was pronounced deceased at the Destin Emergency Room.”
While nine to 12 other people were at first reported to caught up in the rip current, everyone else was able to safely get out of the water to a sandbar. Rip currents are “relatively small-scale surf-zone currents” that trap water between the beach and another feature to turn the waves into a “river-like channel moving away from the shore at high speed,” according to the National Weather Service.
But extreme heat was seemingly also a factor in this unthinkable tragedy, with rip currents later being reported not to rise to the level of dangerous. As Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden told WEAR, "It just seems to be a tragic accident and not something to do with the conditions of the surf, the tides or the currents," Sheriff Aden said.
The temperature in Destin the day Ryan died were in the 90s, and heat indices could have reached the triple digits. The water temperature was in the mid-to-high 80s.
The former pro athlete could have experienced heat stroke or heat exhaustion, contributing to his heartbreaking passing.
Ryan had a girlfriend at the time of his death and is being mourned by many.
Despite his pro-football career and retirement as the White Hall Head Football Coach, Ryan’s life wasn’t always so peachy. In 2019, he was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Arkansas, his home state. He also married Tiffany Seeley, who is known as Tiffany Uncensored on OnlyFans, in 2020. Divorce filings show that their marriage lasted just four months.
But on June 1, 2023, Ryan announced his relationship with Madison Carter on Facebook, and later shared a picture of the two of them with the caption, “Appreciation post for my DR/driver/nurse Madison Carter.” He also started coaching with the White Hill School District in 2022, so a new era of his life was just beginning.
The school district shared their condolences on their live feed. “It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” they wrote. “Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator. We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches, and the White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”
The Arkansas Razorback Football account and New England Patriots shared their own statements in response to Ryan’s passing. Most notably, Ryan’s lifelong friend, MLB Red Sox player and analyst, Will Middlebrooks, wrote:
“I lost my best friend today. Someone who has stuck by my side since we were just kids. The most competitive, hard-headed, fun-loving person I ever met. Nothing prepares you for this. I was lucky to have him for as long as I did. Rest in Love One-Five. We love you.
Our condolences go out to Ryan’s friends, family, fans, and colleagues.