Former NFL Player Keith McCants Dead at 53 From Suspected Overdose

Former NFL linebacker Keith McCants, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 1990 draft, was found dead on Sept. 2 of a suspected overdose, E! News has learned.

By Ryan Gajewski Sep 03, 2021 5:25 AMTags
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The NFL community is mourning the loss of one of its own. 

On Thursday, Sept. 2, Keith McCants, who played linebacker for several NFL teams including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was found dead at his St. Petersburg, Fla. home at the age of 53, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office confirmed to E! News. The athlete died of a suspected drug overdose, according to authorities. 

"It appears it was a drug overdose, but we are awaiting confirmation from the Medical Examiner's Office," shared sheriff's spokesperson Amanda Sinni. "This is still an open investigation." 

Following a standout tenure at the University of Alabama, Keith was the fourth overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft by the Bucs. He played with the team for three seasons before two seasons apiece with the Houston Oilers and Arizona Cardinals, respectively, and participated in his last professional game in 1995. 

Keith, who worked as a radio broadcaster after his on-field career, was part of ESPN's documentary episode "Broke," focusing on former players dealing with financial hardship. 

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Over the years, Keith had multiple arrests for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to the Associated Press

Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images

On the same day, longtime friend Robert Blackmon reflected on social media about the athlete's life. He recalled reading in a newspaper years ago that Keith was arrested for drug possession, which Robert referred to as "one of many." He said he tried to save Keith's life but wrote, "This morning, we lost that battle." 

Robert continued, "Keith, I love you. I would say more than you know, but I think you did know."

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