Former NFL star Devon Wylie has died of unknown causes at the age of 35, his family has announced.
The family of the wide receiver, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans, paid heartbreaking tributes after his death.
“We wanted to post this message so that people who knew and loved Devon could learn of his passing, as we do not have the capacity to reach everyone during this difficult time,” the family said.
“There are no words to express the sadness that comes from the loss of a brother, a dear friend and a wonderful uncle.
“Devon had so much love and joy to give. He always makes people laugh and entertains us with his football skills, guitar jams, corny jokes and voices, back flip tricks, funny Star Wars obsession chat, Halo nights and not to forget his beautiful smile. We will always miss him.’
His Instagram states that after his professional football career, he started a music career in San Francisco.
Former NFL star Devon Wylie has died at the age of 35 from unknown causes
The wide receiver played for the Chiefs and Titans in his NFL career, which came after a stellar four years of 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 at this difficult time,” the team said said on Xformerly Twitter.
Barstool Fresno State, a fan account, added that he was “one of the best, if not the best, special teams players to come out of Fresno State.”
“Prayers for the entire Wylie family and the entire Red Wave. This one hurts.”
During the final year of his college career, he led the Western Athletic Conference in yards per punted return, in a season in which he recorded 56 receptions in 13 games.
He came 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. This is how I’m going to make it in professional ball.’
Wylie was drafted into the NFL by the Chiefs in the fourth round, as Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said he called the college standout against the pro leagues because he had “really good speed and runs really good routes.”
Wylie has been described as “one of the best, if not the best special teams player to come out of Fresno State.”
Wylie began a music career after his NFL stint, appearing on social media to often play at open-mic nights in San Francisco
In an image Wylie shared on his Instagram, he was noted as a “smooth, local singer/guitarist who came across as the most professional of all open-mic participants.”
He was released by the Chiefs before the 2013 season after catching six passes in six games.
He then spent less than one season with the Titans before moving to six teams over the next two seasons. He spent 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.
When he was signed to the 49ers’ practice squad in 2013, he told the Sacramento Bee that seeing his career go from NFL starter to down-roster player “has been tough, man.”
“I know a lot of teams have brought me onto these practice squads, basically as an extended tryout,” he said.
“And for some reason they have to bring in another guy because someone gets hurt. And I get booted. If they keep me, they’ll get the best of me.’