Former NFL WR James Hardy found dead at 31

Indiana standout had history of issues

The Allen County Coroner’s Office in Indiana on Thursday identified a corpse found in the Maumee River as that of former Buffalo Bills wide receiver James Hardy. The 31-year-old’s body was found lodged in a dam in the river at around 2:30 PM on Wednesday afternoon. The Bills expressed their condolences to the Hardy family over Twitter after the news came out.

The cause of death has yet to be officially determined, but it was reported that Hardy’s mother reported him missing on May 30, indicating that there may have been mental health issues that contributed to Hardy’s passing. In 2008, Hardy pulled a gun during an argument with his father, although charges were never filed in that incident. Another piece of evidence was a situation in 2014 where he was arrested for resisting arrest, but was later ruled not mentally competent to stand trial. Keith Edmonds, Hardy’s basketball coach in high school, said that Hardy reached out to him two weeks ago to arrange a meeting, although those plans fell through. “I didn’t realize those things were starting to happen with him being in a different mindset as far as where his life was,” Edmonds said.

Hardy played for the Bills in the 2008 and 2009 NFL seasons. He was a relatively high draft pick, selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft after recording 191 receptions for 2,740 yards and 36 touchdowns at Indiana University, leading the Big Ten Conference in receiving touchdowns in his final two seasons. Hardy became a leader of the team in his senior year, especially when the team got to the 2007 Insight Bowl, breaking a long postseason drought for the university, despite the recent death of coach Terry Hoeppner. He was also well regarded as a prospect for his athleticism, especially when taking into account his 6 foot 6 inch stature and his experience as a player for Indiana University’s basketball team.

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