(MILITARY TIMES) Tony Fein, an Iraq war veteran and NFL rookie linebacker who played with the Baltimore Ravens during the preseason, has 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 on Tuesday morning, said Mike Wernet, a battalion chief and medical officer with South Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
A man and woman who were present described Fein as a friend who was staying with them. They told the aid crew they awoke to find him unresponsive and vomiting.
“They didn’t really give us a lot of information about what had happened the night before,” apparently because they were upset, Wernet said. “They didn’t indicate anything out of the ordinary.”
There were no obvious wounds or signs of alcohol or other drug abuse, and nothing indicated foul play, he added.
Kitsap County sheriff’s Deputy Scott E. Wilson said a detective was assigned to the case Wednesday because the death seemed unusual.
“We don’t have any indication of anything suspicious … or foul play,” Wilson said.
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.”
An autopsy won’t be conducted before Thursday, and 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.
Guy Dalrymple, a fire and rescue duty chief, did not immediately return a telephone call to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Fein, a native of Port Orchard, was released by the Ravens in their last major round of roster cuts Sept. 5.
Hobbs said he last spoke with Fein on Friday and since the death had talked with the Fein’s sister, mother and some friends. He would not discuss a possible cause of death.
“He was working out and we were discussing football opportunities. That was still his goal,” Hobbs said. “We talked about Canada.”
Some Canadian Football League teams had expressed interest in Fein before he joined the Ravens but there had been no contacts since he was cut, the agent said.
Fein was arrested Aug. 23 and charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer after an incident at a restaurant at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in which the officer reportedly mistook his cellular telephone for a handgun. Fein said he was innocent.
Fein played quarterback for South Kitsap High School before graduating in 2000. At age 19 he enlisted and spent 3½ 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 the University of Mississippi in 2007 and 2008. In two seasons at Ole Miss, he had 136 tackles (77 solo) in 24 games, according to the school’s Web site.