Former NFL Star’s Last Instagram Post Before His Sudden Death

Vontae Davis

Getty Former Colts cornerback Vontae Davis at CenturyLink Field on October 1, 2017.

A week before his unexpected death on April 1 at his home in south Florida, former Buffalo Bills cornerback Vontae Davis promoted his children’s book, “The Middle School Rules of Vontae Davis,” on Instagram. “Excited to share my journey from DC to where I am today through my signed children’s book! 📚 Packed with invaluable life lessons and gratitude for my support system.”

Amazon‘s description of the book reads, “At age 11, Vontae and his siblings faced living in separate foster homes, but Grandma Adaline refused to allow it, adopting and raising all seven children despite financial difficulties. With some guidance from his older brother Vernon (two-time Pro Bowl tight end), Vontae earned a college football scholarship, and after three years entered the NFL.”

Davis, who was 35, was found unresponsive in his mansion in Southwest Ranches, a town about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale, according to the Davie Police Department via multiple media reports. Police said no foul play was suspected but that an investigation into his death was active, the reports said.

In a March 21 post, the Illinois alum posted on Instagram that he was excited to launch a new business venture, Davis Hospitality Group. He wrote, “Born from adversity, fueled by resilience, my journey from poverty to prosperity is a testament to the power of determination and the love of family. Being adopted by my grandparents has motivated me to turn life’s hardships into opportunities. Now, on the brink of launching @davishospitalitygroup_ stay tuned as we embark on this blessed journey!🌟”

The Miami Dolphins selected Davis in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft but traded him to the Indianapolis Colts after three seasons.

Davis spent six seasons with the Colts before signing a one-year, $5 million contract with the Bills. His tenure in Buffalo lasted all of six quarters. During the Bills’ Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Davis left the locker room at halftime and abruptly retired, finishing his NFL career with 395 total tackles, 97 passes defensed and 22 interceptions.

Tributes Filled Social Media Following the News of Vontae Davis’ Death

News of Davis’ death rattled the NFL world, and tributes to the former cornerback filled social media. University of Illinois assistant basketball coach Chester Frazier broke the news on X. Frazier posted on X, “#illinination we lost a great today!!! RIP TO @vontaedavis man nothing but good memories of that dude in school!!! Praying for the Davis family!!”

WGLI’s Tay Jones posted, “R.I.P to cornerback Vontae Davis. We laughed at him when he retired at halftime during a game. Looking back its not very funny when you realize what happened in his life post-#NFL. These players endure a lot. And sometimes their behavior could be a cry for help.”

The Bills official X account posted, “We are saddened to learn of the passing of Vontae Davis. We are thinking of his friends, family, and loved ones during this difficult time. ❤️💙”

Former linebacker turn analyst Emmanuel Acho posted, “Just sitting here staring at my phone in shock over the Vontae Davis news… I’m so heartbroken for his family, NFL players please check on your brothers. 💔”

Writer Michael Dolan recalled, “When I had Athletes Quarterly, Vontae Davis invited me to his home, where we did a fashion shoot. He wanted us all to jump in the pool and have fun. He was one of the kindest athletes I ever met, and it breaks my heart that he’s no longer with us. This world gets tougher each day.”

Vontae Davis Shared a Statement Explaining Why He Abruptly Retired

Davis recorded just one tackle in the only game of his Bills career. “He pulled himself out of the game,” head coach Sean McDermott told reporters after Davis quit. “He told us he was done.”

Former Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander was shocked by Davis’ sudden retirement. “Never had seen it ever,” Alexander said per ESPN’s Mike Rodak. “Pop Warner, high school, college, pros. Never heard of it. Never seen it. And it’s just completely disrespectful to his teammates.”

Davis later shared a statement explaining his decision to retire. He wrote in part, “Today on the field, reality hit me fast and hard: I shouldn’t be out there anymore. I meant no disrespect to my teammates and coaches. But I hold myself to a standard. Mentally, I always expect myself to play at a high level. But physically, I know today that isn’t possible, and I had an honest moment with myself. While I was on the field, I just didn’t feel right, and I told the coaches, ‘I’m not feeling like myself.’

“I also wondered: Do I want to keep sacrificing?”

A few months later, Davis joked about the situation in a commercial for FanDuel. Former teammates Tre’Davious White and LeSean McCoy also later laughed together about the surprise retirement.

However, the two-time Pro Bowler struggled after his NFL career ended. Last year, Davis was arrested in Florida on charges of a DUI. Fox Sports 360’s Andy Slater posted, “Davis allegedly crashed into a disabled car on the side of the highway, which then hit a person next to it. Cops found Davis lying down sleeping on the shoulder of the road.”

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