Ex-South Kitsap QB Fein dies of unknown cause

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.

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.

Crabtree signs with 49ers

Rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree, the No. 10 overall pick, signed a six-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers after a drawn-out negotiation process that had some wondering whether he would ever show up this season.

“It’s a lot of relief off my shoulders,” said Crabtree, who will receive nearly $17 million in guaranteed money, according to a person familiar with the contract.

Short yardage

The Browns traded dissatisfied wide receiver Braylon Edwards to the Jets for wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and undisclosed draft choices. Edwards, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2005 draft, has just 10 catches for 139 yards this season. … Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb practiced Wednesday and plans to start Sunday against the Buccaneers. … Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was held out of practice because of his injured right knee. … Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was fined $5,000 by the NFL for his low block on Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma during their game Sunday. … The Raiders signed running back Gary Russell and released kick returner Justin Miller.