June 29, 2023 | 12:47 a.m
Florida authorities said Wednesday that they did not take into account the apparent drowning of former NFL player Ryan Mallett, releasing camera footage of an officer rushing to the tragic scene.
Mallett, 35, was killed while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of the Panhandle Tuesday afternoon, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
“Tragic loss of life, it is always difficult to lose a tourist or resident here, but we have no indication here of any serious conditions there,” Sheriff Eric Aden said in a videotaped statement Wednesday.
“The whole of Okaloosa County, as well as Destin, we are not under red flags or double red flags despite some misconceptions out there.”
He continued, “We were under a yellow flag, which is to swim with caution.” “It appears to be just a tragic accident and nothing to do with wave conditions, tides or currents.”
Mallett, an Arkansas native, began to struggle as he tried to swim to a second sandbar 150 feet from shore near Gulf Shores Drive around 2:15 p.m., police officials said in a news release Wednesday.
Rescuers raced to save Mallet when he sank underwater, but he was not breathing when he was pulled out, officials said.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Short excerpts of body cam footage released by the sheriff’s office showed an officer running toward the scene as dozens of bystanders on the beach watched the eerie chaos.
“I think they put him on the board now,” he told a fellow officer when he arrived on the scene.
Additional footage only showed a large number of first responders’ vehicles, including an ambulance, responding to the crash site.
Mallett played in the NFL for five seasons, including with the New England Patriots where he backed up Tom Brady, the Houston Texans, and the Baltimore Ravens.
He was a quarterback at the University of Michigan for one year before transferring to the University of Arkansas where he finished a stellar college career.
“He lived with great enthusiasm and could really throw the ball with incredible strength in his arm,” former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr told the Associated Press Wednesday. “By the time he was a senior in Arkansas, he was physically mature.
“You don’t see many men like him.”
Mallett was coaching football at Whitehall High School in Arkansas before his untimely death.
“It is with great sadness that we share the loss of Coach Ryan Mallett,” the school said in a statement.
“Coach Mallett was a beloved coach and educator. We ask that you remember his family, team, students, fellow coaches, and White Hall School District staff in your prayers.”