- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Geno Hayes, who was a linebacker for the Buccaneers, Bears, and Jaguars, died on Monday.
Hayes had liver disease and was in hospice care before his death.
He was 33.
Former NFL player and Florida State linebacker Geno Hayes has died at 33.
Frankie Carroll, who coached Hayes at Madison County High School in Florida, told CNN that Hayes died on Monday night, and the cause of death was related to liver disease.
Hayes - who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, and Jacksonville Jaguars during his professional career - was diagnosed with liver disease two years ago and was in hospice care at his parents' home before his death, ESPN reported.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of Geno Hayes' passing," the Buccaneers said in a statement Tuesday. "During his time with the Buccaneers, Geno was a beloved teammate and often the first player to volunteer his time to our efforts in the community. He frequently visited schools and had a remarkable ability to connect with children. Losing him at such a young age is heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with his family."
Hayes had two children with his wife Shevelle Hayes.
Hayes, a Florida native, was drafted by his home-state Buccaneers out of Florida State University in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played from 2008-14, recording 10 career sacks, six interceptions, and even scored two defensive touchdowns.
Hayes recorded a cornerstone moment in Florida State history in 2007, when he sealed the biggest upset victory of the season against No. 2 ranked Boston College by returning an interception from Matt Ryan for a game-clinching touchdown. Florida State won the game 27-17.
Hayes was diagnosed with chronic liver disease in 2019. He told ESPN in March that he was on the waiting for a list for a liver transplant after being hospitalized more than 20 times in the last year.
"The first diagnosis they gave me was alcoholic cirrhosis," Hayes said. "But when we dug in deeper, it became just chronic liver disease, because I don't drink like that. If I did drink, it was just like wine or something like that. But my body is made different. And that's what [my doctor] said - 'Everybody's made different.' I went from 220lbs to 150. That was when I was first diagnosed."
Hayes admitted that he believes his habits of using over-the-counter painkillers during his NFL career may have contributed to him getting liver disease.
"I didn't do like regular guys do with the Toradol shots," Hayes told ESPN. "I thought [over-the-counter medication] was safer. But once I got out and started doing research, I was like, 'Oh ... my body is not set up for this.'"
In 2017, more than 1,500 former players filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the league and its teams of repeatedly administering painkillers like Toradol before and during games, without disclosing long-term risks and side effects.
The NFL and the NFLPA filed a Request for Information to researchers studying pain management alternatives to opioids in February.
Read the original article on Insider