Authorities have confirmed that on the early morning of Thursday, September 2, 2021, Keith McCants, a former linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and other NFL teams was found dead at his St. Petersburg home at the age of 53.
The police suspect that his death was a result of a drug overdose. This news was a huge and unexpected loss to the NFL community and the sports community as a whole.
Keep reading below for more information surrounding the player’s death and his life.
Cause Of Death
According to the Pinellas County sheriff’s office, on the morning of Thursday, September 2nd, their deputies were called to a St.Petersburg home by a 911 call about an unresponsive male.
They then discovered McCants dead inside the house on arrival. The spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, Amanda Sinni commented on the case, stating; “It appears the cause of death was a drug overdose, but we are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner’s office. This is still an open investigation.”
The Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the case is under investigation and that the official cause of death has yet to be determined.
McCants’ Career In The NFL
McCants played football for the University of Alabama and following an amazing standout tenure, he went professional and was the fourth overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He played with the Bucs for three seasons before moving to the Arizona Cardinals and the Houston Oilers, playing for both teams for two seasons each. He played his last professional game in 1995.
In his professional NFL career, he played in a total of 88 games, had a single interception, and recorded 13.5 quarterback sacks, 192 tackles, and returned for a 46-yard touchdown when he was with the Cardinals.
Life After NFL
After his retirement from football, he became Alabama’s first Black marine police officer at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, a post he would eventually retire from due to injuries he had from his time at the NFL.
He also had a career as a radio broadcaster after his retirement from the NFL.
McCants became more open in recent years when he spoke about his struggles with addiction, depression, his financial troubles and his diagnosis with early onset dementia.
He also shared his several issues with the law for drug-related charges, he had several arrests for drug paraphernalia and possession of drugs.
His financial troubles were featured in a 2012 ESPN documentary titled “Broke,” about former professional players who had several difficulties and went bankrupt.
During an interview last year, he said, “The only thing I want to do now is taking all my experiences – good and bad – and spread my story, make sure the next man doesn’t have the same problems and go through the same things that I went through, I want people to go down a better direction than I had to go down.”
Memories Of McCants
McCants made an impact on several people in his life. One of them is Emmitt Smith, who became his friend while playing in college and was with him when they were both named to the All American team in 1988.
Smith also sought McCants’ advice severely leading up to his decision to announce the 1990 Draft. McCants was also the inspiration for WNBA player, Lindsey Harding who met him while he was still a child and decided to enter sports after a foot race with him.
Of all his friends, most noteworthy is his longtime friend and candidate for the St. Petersburg mayoral post, Robert Blackmon. In a tribute on Facebook, Blackmon remembers McCants as a man who “lived a remarkable life.”
According to him, he along with some others who knew McCants made a decision in 2010 to try to turn his life around.
He noted in the Facebook post that, “This morning, we lost that battle, he had renewed optimism after his hip surgery in May. 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.”
He added, “If you truly knew Keith, one thing that would stand out to you was his patience. He rarely ever got truly upset. He would indulge others. He wanted to see the happiness on the face of those around him. He knew how much sadness there was in our world. And how much he had endured himself,”
McCants will surely be missed by fans of his career in the NFL, his friends, family, and all the people whose lives he touched in one way or another.