Vontae Davis, former NFL star, found dead in Miami home at age 35

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 03: Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis (21) warms up before the Indianapolis Colts training camp on August 3, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Former NFL cornerback Vontae Davis has died at age 35. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Vontae Davis, former NFL cornerback for the Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills, has died, with all three teams confirming the news on Monday. He was 35, just two months short of his 36th birthday.

The cause and circumstances of his death are unknown. According to the Davie Police Department, Davis was found dead in his Florida home on Monday morning after being discovered by the house assistant, per ESPN Colts reporter Stephen Holder. A death investigation is currently underway, though investigators have said they don't expect foul play.

Davis, who spent a decade in the NFL, is best known for his abrupt retirement in 2018. At halftime of the Bills' Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Davis retired and released a lengthy statement afterward explaining his move.

“Today on the field, reality hit me fast and hard: I shouldn’t be out there anymore. It’s more important for me and my family to walk away healthy than to willfully embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late.”

After his sudden retirement, Davis seemed to be in a good place. The Washington Post did a profile on him in late 2019, a year after he left the game, and he had recently published "Middle School Rules," a children's book in which professional athletes share lessons they learned growing up.

Davis shared his own story in the book: a rough upbringing in Washington, D.C. with a violent father and a drug-addicted mother. His grandmother saved him and his six siblings, including former NFL tight end Vernon Davis, by taking them from foster care and adopting him. In school, Davis excelled athletically in both football and track, and ended up choosing to attend Illinois. He was a first-round draft pick in 2009, and was a two-time All-Pro during his NFL career.

Davis was arrested two months ago in Miami for driving under the influence. He hit a truck pulled over with a flat tire, then was found asleep by the side of the road when police arrived. He admitted to police at the scene that he had been drinking.

As news of Davis' death began to spread, tributes started appearing on social media. Colts owner Jim Irsay and former teammates Pat McAfee and T.Y. Hilton all shared their feelings about Davis' sudden passing, as did many others.