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Former NFL cornerback Vontae Davis, 35, found dead at Florida mansion, police say

Davis, a former Pro Bowl cornerback, made headlines in 2018 by retiring at halftime when he played for the Buffalo Bills.
Vontae Davis stands for a portrait
Former NFL cornerback Vontae Davis in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2019. Scott McIntyre for The Washington Post via Getty Images fil

Former NFL cornerback Vontae Davis was found dead in a Florida mansion, police said Monday.

He was 35.

Officers were called Monday morning to a residence on the 6000 block of SW 178th Avenue by the house assistant, who discovered Davis' body at the Southwest Ranches' home, the Davie Police Department said in a statement.

"Preliminary information suggests that foul play is not involved," the department said. 

Details about how Davis died were not released.

Broward County property records indicate the nearly $3 million home is owned by Adaline Davis, identified by NBC South Florida as Davis’ grandmother. Other records indicate Vontae Davis lived at the home.

The Broward County medical examiner's office said Monday afternoon that it is investigating Davis' death.

"There is no further information available pending a full examination, further testing, and studies. It can take up to 90 days to complete the investigation and determine the cause and manner of death," the agency said in a statement.

Davis, who played in the NFL from 2009 until he retired in 2018, suited up for the Miami Dolphins, the Indianapolis Colts and the Buffalo Bills.

Tributes began pouring in Monday afternoon from each team, as well as the league.

The NFL said on X that it "is heartbroken to hear about the passing of Vontae Davis. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay also expressed condolences on X. In one post, he posted a picture of Davis in a Colts uniform with a heart emoji above it .

In a second post, Irsay wrote: “Extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Vontae Davis. A great guy, teammate, player. My prayers to Vontae’s family.”

Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts
Tajae Sharpe of the Tennessee Titans breaks free from Vontae Davis of the Indianapolis Colts as he catches a touchdown pass during the third quarter of a game in Indianapolis in 2016.Stacy Revere / Getty Images file

Miami selected Davis as the 25th pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. He played college football at the University of Illinois.

Davis made news and raised eyebrows in 2018 by retiring at halftime during the Bills’ game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

He said in a statement about deciding to call it quits mid-game: “This isn’t how I pictured retiring from the NFL. But today, on the field, reality hit me hard and fast. I shouldn’t be out there anymore. … I meant no disrespect to my teammates or coaches.”

Davis was twice named to the Pro Bowl.

Tiresias McCall, 46, is the former dean of students of Dunbar High School in Washington D.C., Davis’ alma mater.

McCall said he met Davis in 2019 when Davis returned to the school and spoke about a book he co-wrote, “The Middle School Rules of Vontae Davis.”

The book is said to be about the long odds Davis faced in making the NFL. Davis’ parents were drug addicts, and his grandmother Adaline adopted him and his siblings so they wouldn’t live in separate foster homes, according to a description of the book.

“He was an amazing, caring, passionate young man,” McCall said. “He spoke from his heart. He has a very infectious smile. He was full of energy, and the kids locked on to everything he said.”

McCall added that Davis’ background resonated with student-athletes who also faced struggles at home.

“The young men and females attached to that. That’s inspiration to them. ‘I, too, can be him.’”

He’s not thinking about Davis’ death in terms of sadness, McCall said; instead, he’s celebrating his life and achievements.

“He lived his time. He lived it to the fullest … and he blessed many, many people. He inspired many people," McCall said.

Davis' older brother, Vernon Davis, played tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, the Denver Broncos and Washington before he retired in 2020.