ST. PETERSBURG (Fla.) -- Keith McCants, a former NFL player, was found dead at his Florida home on Thursday following a suspected drug overdose. Investigators reported that McCants was a former NFL player. He was 53 years old.
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office sent an email stating that deputies were summoned to a St. Petersburg residence at 5:10 AM Thursday. McCants was found dead in the house where other 911 callers also lived.
Amanda Sinni, a spokesperson for the sheriff, stated that it appeared to be a drug overdose. However, they are still waiting confirmation from the medical examiner's office. "This investigation is still ongoing."
McCants, a linebacker was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the fourth overall pick in 1990's NFL draft. As a college player at The University of Alabama, McCants was awarded All-America honors.
McCants spent three seasons in Tampa before moving on to stints with the Houston Oilers and Arizona Cardinals. His football career ended in 1995. McCants was repeatedly arrested for drug possession and paraphernalia.
Robert Blackmon (the St. Petersburg mayoral candidate) said McCants was a long-time friend and that he and others who know him decided to help McCants turn his life around in 2010.
Blackmon posted on Facebook, "This morning we lost that battle," adding that McCants felt reenergized after having hip replacement surgery in May.
"We started to talk about his future. The next 20 years. The purchase of a boat. His trademark grin was back. Blackmon stated that he could not help him in every battle, but that there were other challenges he had to face on his own."
McCants also experienced financial difficulties, as documented in 2012 by ESPN's documentary "Broke," which details former professional athletes who had to go through bankruptcy and other money problems.
McCants was a part of 88 NFL games, recording 192 tackles, 13.5 quarterback-sacks, and one interception, which he returned to the Cardinals for a 46 yard touchdown.
McCants, who had retired from football, was appointed the first Black officer of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.