San Jose SaberCats fullback Johnie Kirton was found dead in a Santa Clara hotel room on Monday, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Kirton was the father of a 2-year-old daughter who lived in Arizona. His cause of death was not immediately known, but authorities don’t suspect foul play, according to the Mercury report.
"It is with great shock and sadness that we confirm that Johnie Kirton has passed away," SaberCats owner and head coach Darren Arbet said in a statement posted on the team’s website.
Kirton played collegiate ball at Washington and was acquired via trade from the Arizona Rattlers earlier this month.
He was already making his mark in San Jose, scoring three touchdowns including the game-winner in an 84-77overtime victory over Chicago on Saturday at HP Pavilion.
"He was such a great kid, and in the short time he was in San Jose he was such a valued member of our organization’s family,” Arbet said. “Johnie was a great team guy and hard-nosed player, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Johnie’s family in this difficult time."
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