Geno Hayes, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four seasons, succumbed to liver disease on Monday, dying at the age of 33.
WCTV’s Ryan Kelly and Christi McKee reported the news late Monday evening after the station received confirmation of Hayes’ death from Mike Coe, who coaches where Hayes attended high school, Madison County, in Florida. Hayes leaves behind his wife, Shevelle, and his two children. The station also reported that Hayes’ liver disease was at Stage 3. He had been in hospice care since last week.
Hayes had been living with liver disease for the past two years according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. He had been waiting for a liver transplant before entering hospice care. He believed the disease came about from over-the-counter pain medicines from his playing days, he told ESPN according to Laine.
Hayes played for the Bucs from 2008 through 2011 after the team took him in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft from Florida State. He also played for the Chicago Bears in 2012 and the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013 and 2014.
The Bucs organization released condolences on Twitter on Tuesday morning. “We are deeply saddened to learn of Geno Hayes’ passing. During his time with the Buccaneers, Geno was a beloved teammate and often the first player to volunteer his time to our efforts in the community. He frequently visited schools and had a remarkable ability to connect with children. Losing him at such a young age is heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Rest in peace, Geno 🙏 pic.twitter.com/RxSKQX8mNZ
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) April 27, 2021
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Hayes’ Career With the Bucs
Hayes’ career overlapped with one of the Bucs’ greatest defensive players of all time in 2008 — Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks.
Upon Brooks’ retirement in 2009, Hayes became a starter and made three sacks, two interceptions, and a career-high 98 tackles. He kept up the production in 2010 with 82 tackles and a career-high four sacks in 16 starts. He also returned his lone interception that season 41 yards for a touchdown.
Hayes started 13 games in 2011 and posted 64 tackles, a couple forced fumbles, and an interception. He left the Bucs after that season and signed a one-year contract with the Bears per NFL.com.
Hayes didn’t put up the numbers in Chicago that he did in Tampa —16 tackles in three starts.
He found a new home in Jacksonville as a free agent in 2013 per Jaguars.com and completed his career with two solid seasons for the Jaguars. In 2013, Hayes tallied 77 tackles, a sack, and two interceptions in 14 starts. He made 51 tackles and two sacks in his final season in 2014 with 11 starts.
Overall, Hayes posted 401 tackles, 10 sacks, six interceptions, and six forced fumbles in his seven-year career.
Haye finished his NFL career where his football career began in the state of Florida.
He grew up in Greenville, Florida, and FSU recruited him from Madison County High School. In three seasons at FSU, he made 82 tackles, eight sacks, and intercepted two passes.
Hayes also gave back to his hometown of Greenville with “toy giveaways, a youth football camp or just showing at Haffye Hays Park to toss the football with kids” according to Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat.