Former NFL star Devon Wylie has died aged 35 from unknown causes, his family has announced.
The family of the wide receiver, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans, paid a heartbreaking tribute after his death.
‘We wanted to make this post so people who knew and loved Devon could learn of his passing because we don’t have the capacity to reach out to everyone in this hard time,’ the family said, according to reports.
‘There are no words to express the sadness that comes from losing a brother, dear friend and an amazing uncle.
‘Devon had so much love and joy to give. Always making people laugh and entertaining us with his football skills, guitar jams, silly jokes and voices, back-flip tricks, fun banter Star Wars obsession chat, Halo nights and not to mention his beautiful smile. We will miss him always.’
His Instagram indicates that he began a music career in San Francisco after his pro-football career.
Former NFL star Devon Wylie has died aged 35 from unknown causes
The wide receiver played for the Chiefs and the Titans in his NFL career, which came after a glittering four years in college at Fresno State University
Wylie, pictured before an NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts in 2013, was described by his family as ‘always making people laugh and entertaining’
Before launching his NFL career, Wylie was a star high school player at Granite Bay High School in California, which earned him a scholarship to Fresno State University where he played from 2007-2011.
Fresno State said after news of Wylie’s death that he is ‘forever a bulldog.’
‘Our thoughts are with the Wylie family during this difficult time,’ the team said on X, formerly Twitter.
Barstool Fresno State, a fan account, added that he was ‘one of the best if not the best special team return player to come out of Fresno State.’
‘Prayers to the entire Wylie family and the entire red wave. This one hurts.’
Wylie was known for his rapid speed and reception ability.
During the senior year of his college career, he led the Western Athletic Conference in yards per punted return, in a season where he recorded 56 receptions in 13 games.
He shot to prominence in the pro-football world in 2012, when he recorded a 4.36 second 40-yard dash in the pre-draft NFL Scouting Combine, telling the Sacramento Bee at the time: ‘Speed kills. That’s how I’ll make it in pro ball.’
Wylie was drafted into the NFL in the fourth round by the Chiefs, as Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said he called the college standout up to the pro-leagues because he was ‘really good quickness and he runs really good routes’.
Wylie has been dubbed ‘one of the best if not the best special team return player to come out of Fresno State’
Wylie began a music career after his NFL stint, appearing on social media to play often in open-mic nights across San Francisco
In an image Wylie shared to his Instagram, he was noted as a ‘smooth-voiced, local singer/ guitarist who came across as the most pro of any of the open-mic participants’
He was released before the 2013 season by the Chiefs, after receiving six passes in six games.
He then spent less than one season at the Titans, before moving to six teams over the next two seasons. He spent most of the rest of his playing days on practice squads, including for the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.
He ended his career in 2016 in the Canadian Football League. On his social media, he continued sharing fond memories of his NFL career and images of himself playing before tens of thousands, years after his career ended.
When he was signed up to the 49ers practice squad in 2013, he told the Sacramento Bee that seeing his career go from NFL starter to down-roster player had ‘been rough, man.’
‘I know a lot of teams have been bringing me on to these practice squads, basically as an extended tryout,’ he said.
‘And for one reason or another, they need to bring in another guy because someone gets hurt. And I get booted. If they keep me, they’re going to get my best.’