Tony Fein, a linebacker who played for Mississippi and was in camp with the Baltimore Ravens this summer, has died, his agent told the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss. on Tuesday.
"It's just extremely sad," Dee Hobbs said, according to the newspaper. "I've talked to members of his family and some of his friends. We don't want to speculate on the cause of death right now out of respect for his family."
Fein made it to the last round of cuts with the Ravens before being released. Hobbs told the newspaper that Fein had been working out in his home state of Washington while he waited for another opportunity in football.
Fein was arrested on 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. A trial was scheduled Wednesday, but prosecutors notified Fein's attorney last Thursday that they planned to dismiss the case because of conflicting witness accounts, state's attorney spokeswoman Marty Burns said.
Fein served in the Army for more than three years and served in Iraq before playing college ball. In two seasons at Ole Miss, he had 136 tackles (77 solo) in 24 games, according to the Ravens Web site. Fein was signed as a free agent in June following a minicamp tryout.
Fein often declined to discuss in much detail his time in Iraq. But he was proud to say how he left home an immature 200-pound high school quarterback and returned from the military as a hard-nosed 245-pound linebacker. He had played at Scottsdale Community College and planned on signing with Michigan State but ended up at Ole Miss because he was intrigued by the chance to replace Butkus Award winner Patrick Willis, who was moving on to the NFL.
"It is so sad to hear this news," said former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron Tuesday night. "Tony was a great young man, who had served his country then lived his dream of playing middle linebacker in the SEC. He will be sorely missed by his former teammates and coaches."
Information from ESPN The Magazine senior writer Bruce Feldman and The Associated Press was used in this report.