Florida Sheriff Pleads With Beachgoers To Follow Rip Current Warnings Ahead Of Ryan Mallett’s Tragic Death

Ryan Mallett
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Yesterday, we were hit with the heartbreaking news that former Arkansas star quarterback Ryan Mallett, who played in the NFL for the Patriots, Texans and Ravens, had passed away at the age of 35 after drowning at a Florida beach.

With that being said, we now know that he drowned near Destin, Florida, and it seems that the conditions were not very safe for swimming. Mallett and a number of friends reportedly swam out to a sandbar off the coast, but due to the dangerous rip current, many of them struggled to get back to shore. Mallett was not breathing when he was pulled from the water by lifeguards, and he was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

And just days before Mallett’s tragic death, a Florida Sheriff voiced his frustration over beachgoers who have continued to ignore the warning signs that ultimately led to the death of Mallett, and a number of others so far this summer.

According to the New York Post, 7 people have died in June from drowning off the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida, and 11 in the Panhandle area in just the past two weeks.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford says that these tragic accidents could be avoided if beachgoers would pay attention to the warnings:

“I’m beyond frustrated at the situation that we have with tragic and unnecessary deaths in the Gulf. I have watched while deputies, firefighters and lifeguards have risked their lives to save strangers. I have seen strangers die trying to save their children and loved ones, including two fathers on fathers day.

These same heroes, who have risked it all to save others, have been cursed and given the finger, while trying to warn visitors of the life-threatening dangers. We have used the tools provided by the county commission to fine violators $500 for entering the water on double red flags. We don’t have the resources or time to cite every single person that enters the water but we do our absolute best to use it as a deterrent to entering the water. An arrest is only authorized upon a second offense unless the individual resists law enforcement.

We have been diligently working with the TDC, Commissioners and other partners to continually improve our response capabilities and messaging to make sure everyone knows the flag conditions. Yet, people are still dying.

Government and law enforcement can only do so much in these situations. Personal responsibility is the only way to ensure that no one else dies. Please make the effort to know the flag status and stay completely out of the water.

I’m so proud of the men and women at the sheriffs office and partner agencies that are giving their absolute best to save lives. Please be responsible and don’t put your life or theirs in danger.”

He also sent out a fair warning to any of those traveling to the beach:

“Use caution every time you go into the Gulf. Today is a bit rough, so be especially careful. We’ll be out on the sand, doing our best to keep you safe, visitors and residents alike.”

Mallett still holds the Arkansas record for single season passing touchdowns and passing yards, with other records for total touchdowns and total offense.

He was twice named All-SEC Second Team.

He also spent time with the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and Baltimore Ravens in the NFL before retiring in 2017.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock