Geno Hayes, a former NFL linebacker who starred at Florida State, has died. He was 33.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday confirmed his death. He had liver disease and had been in hospice care.
Hayes spent four seasons with the Bucs, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2008. He then played one year with Chicago and two with Jacksonville.
“Geno was a beloved teammate and often the first player to volunteer his time to our efforts in the community,” the Bucs said in a statement. “He frequently visited schools and had a remarkable ability to connect with children. Losing him at such a young age is heartbreaking.”
New York Jets coach Robert Saleh was coaching Jaguars linebackers in 2014 and worked with Hayes.
“Having the opportunity to spend time with him, I saw Geno’s passion and love for not only football but for life itself,” Saleh said in a statement. “He was an amazing person who left a mark on everyone who had the pleasure of connecting with him.”
Hayes started 70 games for his career. He made 401 tackles, 48 for losses. He had 10 sacks, six interceptions and six forced fumbles.