Former NFL Star Vontae Davis Dead at 35

Vontae Davis, an NFL cornerback who notably retired during halftime of a 2018 game, was found dead April 1 at his home in Florida, police confirmed.

By Olivia Evans Apr 01, 2024 8:31 PMTags
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The sports community is mourning the loss of a decorated football star. 

Vontae Davis, a former NFL cornerback, was found dead at his residence in South Florida on April 1, authorities have confirmed. He was 35. 

While the investigation regarding Vontae's death is ongoing, Davie Police officers said in an April 1 statement to ESPN, "preliminary information suggests that foul play is not involved."

The former cornerback played for the University of Illinois in college, before being selected in the first round for the 2009 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. In 2012, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts and played for the team for six seasons. 

In 2018, Vontae made headlines when he ended his career on the Buffalo Bills during halftime of a game against the Los Angeles Chargers—adding that his choice was "no disrespect" to his teammates and coaches. At the time, Vontae was only two games into the season, and his tenure with the New York team, but was motivated by "multiple" surgeries and injuries to make his seemingly rash decision. 

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"This isn't how I pictured retiring from the NFL," he wrote in a statement at the time. "It's more important for me and my family to walk away healthy than to willfully embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late."

After his retirement, Vontae shared in a 2023 social media post that he was focusing on traveling, giving back to his communities and making a "positive impact on the lives of others." He also founded the Davis Hospitality Group, which offered wellness retreats and luxury lifestyle options—including transportation—to its patrons. 

Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

"Vontae was an incredibly cool dude—good guy, nice guy, upbeat guy, energetic guy," Pat McAfee said during his April 1 broadcast after sharing the news of his former teammate's passing. "I think we'll remember him being an incredibly cool teammate in that locker room and being a guy that all of us enjoyed being around on a daily basis."

And former Colts player Darius Butler tearfully added, "Sending my heart and condolences to his family and loved ones, his friends, all of his former teammates who've been reaching out."

Vontae is survived by his wife, Megan Harpe, parents Vernon and Jacqueline Davis and older brother Vernon Davis, who is a retired NFL tight end.

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