The football world is reeling on Wednesday afternoon, as word broke earlier in the day that former NFL wide receiver James Hardy III was found dead on Tuesday within the confines of the Maumee River in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Hardy, who last played in the NFL in 2011, was just 31 years old.

The Buffalo Bills, who drafted the former Indiana Hoosiers standout with a second round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, issued an official statement after hearing of the passing of their former player.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of James Hardy today. We send our condolences to the Hardy family as they deal with this tragic loss.”

At this time, no official cause of death is known but, according to a report from Kayla Crandall of Fort Wayne’s NBC affiliate, a water plant worker uncovered Hardy’s body and emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene before an ID was eventually made. While Hardy was not a household name for most casual NFL fans, he was a tremendous player while at Indiana and he spent time with both the Bills and Baltimore Ravens during the course of his professional career.

Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

Former NFL wideout found dead at just 31 years old Photo by NFL via Getty Images
Rowland is a lifelong Atlanta sports fan that also grew up in a Michigan Wolverines household. He previously worked with FanSided, SB Nation and UPROXX sports and covers college football for FanBuzz.
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