Former South Kitsap High School star Tony Fein, an Iraq war veteran and NFL rookie linebacker who played with the Baltimore Ravens during the exhibition season, died of unexplained causes after collapsing at a friend’s house in what his agent said appears to be "an accidental situation."
Fein, 27, an undrafted rookie free agent from Mississippi, was lying face down and unconscious, vomiting and barely breathing when medics arrived at a house outside Port Orchard on the Kitsap Peninsula just before 9 a.m Tuesday, said Mike Wernet, a battalion chief and medical officer with South Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
The medics put a breathing tube down Fein’s throat after he stopped breathing, and they administered medication, but he went into cardiac arrest during the drive to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, across Puget Sound from Seattle, and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:48 a.m. Tuesday, Wernet said.
There were no obvious wounds or signs of alcohol or other drug abuse, and nothing indicated foul play, he added.
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Fein’s agent, Milton D. Hobbs, a lawyer in Oxford, Miss., said he knew of no medical condition or previous severe illness in Fein.
“As I understand it, it was an accidental situation,” Hobbs said. “As far as I understand it from family members, there’s nothing to indicate that he intended to hurt himself.”
No report will be issued before all toxicology and other tests are complete, likely in six to eight weeks, said Allen G. Gerdes, Kitsap County chief deputy coroner.
Fein, a native of Port Orchard, was released by the Ravens in their last major round of roster cuts Sept. 5.
“Tony Fein was a really good teammate, a tremendous American, a tremendous young man ... just a really good person,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “We were proud to have him here as part of our team. We’re unbelievably disappointed about the news.”
Fein played quarterback for South Kitsap High School before graduating in 2000. At age 19, he enlisted and spent 31/2 years in the Army, including duty in Iraq as a 19 Delta reconnaissance scout, according to the Ravens’ Web site.
He later enrolled at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, became one of the nation’s top junior college recruits and played for Ole Miss in 2007 and 2008. In two seasons at Ole Miss, he had 136 tackles (77 solo) in 24 games.
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