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Former NFL Star Found Dead at 35

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Former NFL cornerback star Vontae Davis, who played for the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, and Buffalo Bills, was found dead in a residence in Southwest Ranches, Florida, on April 1, 2024.

After a medical emergency call was placed from a home on the 6000 block of SW 178th Avenue, officers from the Davie suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, discovered Davis, age 35, unresponsive. The specific cause of death remains under investigation, with autopsy results pending. Initial findings indicate there was no foul play.

Property records from Broward County indicate that the nearly $3 million home where Davis was found is owned by Adaline Davis, identified as Davis’ grandmother. Additional documentation suggests Davis resided at this location.

Born in Washington, D.C., Vontae Davis had a notable 10-year career in the National Football League. After being drafted 25th overall by the Dolphins in 2009 from the University of Illinois, he started his NFL journey with three seasons in Miami, before being traded to the Indianapolis Colts ahead of the 2012 season.

During his six-year tenure with the Colts, Davis earned two Pro Bowl nods (2014 and 2015) and was recognized for his outstanding defensive performance. He participated in 121 matches in his career, marking 22 interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

The unexpected news of Davis’ passing has prompted a surge of heartfelt tributes and condolences from his former teammates, clubs, and fans. The NFL, on its “X” account, expressed sorrow about Vontae Davis’ death and extended condolences to his loved ones.

Jim Irsay, the Indianapolis Colts’ owner, expressed his condolences on “X”, sharing a picture of Davis in Colts’ attire with a heart symbol. Irsay further conveyed his sorrow, sharing another message: “Deeply grieved by the loss of Vontae Davis. Truly a wonderful person, colleague, and athlete. Sending thoughts and prayers to Vontae’s family.”

Davis made headlines when he abruptly retired in the midst of a 2018 game between the Bills and the Los Angeles Chargers. Speaking about his unconventional retirement, he said: “Retiring from the NFL like this was not part of my vision. However, the truth struck me clearly and suddenly on the field today. I realized I no longer belong out there… My actions were never intended to disrespect my teammates or coaches.”

Tiresias McCall, a former dean of students at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C., where Davis was a student, recalled a 2019 meeting with Davis. Davis had visited his former school to discuss “The Middle School Rules of Vontae Davis,” a book he had contributed to.

The book details Davis’ journey to the NFL, highlighting the significant challenges he overcame, including his parents’ drug addiction. His grandmother, Adaline, legally adopted him and his siblings to keep them from being split into foster care, according to the book’s outline.

McCall remembered Davis as an outstanding individual with a warm heart, who communicated with real emotion and had an inspiring smile. He noted how Davis’ lively demeanor and words deeply resonated with the students.

According to McCall, Davis’ story made a profound impact on Dunbar’s student-athletes dealing with their own family problems. He noted that Davis’ story motivated both male and female students, instilling in them a belief in their potential for similar success.

Rather than focusing on the sadness of Davis’ passing, McCall chose to celebrate his life and the influence he had, recognizing the inspiration Davis provided to many. Davis’ older brother, Vernon Davis, also had a successful NFL career as a tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Washington, retiring in 2020.

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