‘No rip currents’ involved in Ryan Mallett’s drowning at Destin beach, officials say

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett died on Tuesday after drowning at a beach in Destin, Florida.

While an investigation is still underway, officials did say that there were “no rip currents” present when Mallett drowned.

“Flag condition was yellow. A yellow flag indicates medium hazard, moderate surf and/or currents,” Destin Beach Safety said. “There were no rip currents present in the area in which we responded to Ryan Mallett.”

Mallett began struggling while attempting to swim to a second sandbar about 150 feet offshore, according to investigators with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. 

Ryan Mallett throws the football

Ryan Mallett, 35, was the quarterback at the University of Arkansas from 2009 to 2010. He was drafted to the New England Patriots in 2011 and played five seasons in the NFL. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A 911 caller said Mallett was one of six people “struggling to make it back to shore,” Destin Beach Safety said.

“Destin Beach Safety quickly arrived on scene, where they were informed that one of the swimmers had submerged and failed to resurface,” they said.

“Two lifeguards promptly entered the water to assist the swimmers and recover the submerged individual. An additional lifeguard entered to help locate and rescue the submerged swimmer.

“Once the patient was brought to shore, lifeguards along with the help of Destin Fire paramedics immediately commenced life-saving measures.”


Ryan Mallett talks to Tom Brady

Ryan Mallett was a backup for New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady from 2011 to 2013. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

From June 14 to June 25, flags were either “Single Red” or “Double Red” because of life-threatening currents – it is against the law to enter the Gulf of Mexico on a Double Red flag.

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford warned those going to the beach to be careful after the recent uptick in drowning deaths, which he said put first responders at risk.

“I’m beyond frustrated at the situation that we have with tragic and unnecessary deaths in the Gulf,” Ford wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “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 (Father’s Day).”

A police report from earlier this week revealed seven people have died at nearby Panama City Beach this year and all the deaths took place in June. The death toll is the highest of any U.S. beach for 2023, according to data tracked by the National Weather Service. 

Destin Beach Safety said there were no drownings in Destin between June 14 and June 25, but there were 48 people rescued. It was noted that the beach also saw more than 200,000 visitors during the same time frame.

Ryan Mallet walks on field in beanie

After the New England Patriots, QB Ryan Mallett spent time with the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Mallett was an Arkansas Razorbacks legend during his time there in 2009 and 2010. He began his college career at Michigan, but transferred to Fayetteville and became a star. 

He threw for 3,624 yards with 30 touchdowns to seven interceptions in 2009 and followed that up with 3,869 yards with 32 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 2010. 

Ryan Mallet poses in Arkansas jersey

Ryan Mallett became a star for the Arkansas Razorbacks after he transferred to the university from Michigan. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

A third-round draft pick by the New England Patriots in 2011, Mallett accumulated just eight starts during his 21 appearances in the NFL.

In February 2022, Mallett took over as the head football coach at White Hall High School in Arkansas. 

Fox News’ Scott Thompson and Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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