Former NFL Cornerback Vontae Davis Found Dead At His Home In Florida

Vontae Davis, the former NFL cornerback who made two Pro Bowls with the Indianapolis Colts and memorably retired at halftime of his final game, was found dead by police at his home in South Florida, according to authorities. (Matt Dunham/AP via CNN Newsource)

By Eric Levenson and Devon M. Sayers, CNN

(CNN) — Vontae Davis, the former NFL cornerback who made two Pro Bowls with the Indianapolis Colts and memorably retired at halftime of his final game, was found dead by police Monday at his home in South Florida, according to authorities.

Officers were called to the home in Southwest Ranches by a house assistant and found Davis dead, according to the Davie Police Department. Preliminary information suggests foul play is not involved, and the investigation is active, police added.

The Broward County medical examiner’s office is investigating the death.

Davis, 35, played in 121 games over a 10-year career with the Miami Dolphins, Colts and Buffalo Bills, totaling 22 interceptions and 97 pass deflections.

He played college football for Illinois and was selected by the Dolphins with the 25th pick of the first round in the 2009 NFL Draft. He played three seasons with Miami before he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a second-round pick. The HBO show “Hard Knocks” was following the Dolphins team at the time and captured the tense conversation between then-general manager Jeff Ireland and Davis about the trade, which offered insight into the personal stakes of the league.

“The rumor is true: We just traded you,” Ireland said.

“I want to call my grandmother,” the shocked corner responded.

Davis excelled in Indianapolis and in 2014 signed a 4-year, $36 million deal to remain with the team. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014 and 2015 as he snagged four interceptions in each season, and he played with the Colts for six seasons in all.

In 2018, he signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Buffalo Bills, but he abruptly retired at halftime of the team’s second game. The decision shocked his teammates and a league that typically values a warrior mentality.

“I had more of an out-of-body, spiritual moment, and my intuition was telling me that football was no longer for me,” he told CNN at the time.

He said part of the choice to retire was physical, citing the issue of players dealing with brain injuries like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

“All of that stuff goes into consideration,” he said. “I no longer wanted to sacrifice my body where it didn’t benefit me moving forward.”

Davis, the brother of former NFL tight end Vernon Davis, also spoke to CNN about their difficult upbringing.

“I come from very humble beginnings,” Davis said. “My mother was addicted to drugs, my father an alcoholic. I grew up in some very traumatic situations. I witnessed my father being shot multiple times by his brother. And when you come out of situations like that, you’re just not considered a quitter.

“I don’t think I quit. I think I feel that, as I walk away from a game that no longer serves me mentally, physically, and emotionally. That’s what I would tell people who say I quit. Most people don’t know who I am as a person or what I’ve been through to achieve the success I have.”

The NFL and each of the three teams he played for offered their condolences on Monday.

“The NFL is heartbroken to hear about the passing of Vontae Davis. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” the NFL said.

“We are heartbroken by the sudden passing of former Dolphins CB Vontae Davis and extend our deepest condolences to his family & loved ones during this difficult time,” the Dolphins said.

The Colts said: “We are devastated to hear of Vontae Davis’s passing. He was a standout player in his six seasons with the Horseshoe, but he was an even better teammate who carried a smile and positive energy every day. He will be deeply missed, and we send our prayers to his family and loved ones.”

“Extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Vontae Davis,” Jim Irsay, who owns the Colts, said in a post on X. “A great guy, teammate, player. My prayers to Vontae’s family.”

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Vontae Davis,” the Bills said in a statement. “We are thinking of his friends, family, and loved ones during this difficult time.”

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