Keith McCants, former Alabama linebacker and first round NFL Draft pick, was found dead at his St. Petersburg home Thursday morning according to multiple reports. He was 53. Officials told AL.com that it appears to be a drug overdose.
McCants played for the Crimson Tide from 1988-1989 before being selected fourth overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft.
He was ineligible during his freshman season for academic reasons, but had a strong debut season for Alabama in 1988 with 78 tackles as he played in a linebacker group alongside Derrick Thomas.
It was the 1989 season where McCants really made himself known on a national scale out of the the shadow of Thomas. He had 119 tackles in the '89 season and his performance in the Iron Bowl was enough to earn him MVP even though Alabama lost the game. McCants was also the runner-up for the Butkus Award and a unanimous all-American in 1989. He was a part of Alabama's 1990 Sugar Bowl appearance against Miami.
He would go on to play seven seasons in the NFL with the Buccaneers, Houston Oilers and Arizona Cardinals. After football, he served as a police officer in his home state of Alabama.
McCants struggled with drug problems and was on the All Things Bama Podcast in 2020 and detailed his journey from Alabama to first round draft pick to working towards overcoming drug addiction.
In a sad day for the Alabama football community. One of McCants' assistant coaches at Alabama, Jim Fuller, also passed away on Thursday at the age of 76. He had been battling COVID-19. Fuller was a player at Alabama for Coach Bryant in the 60s and came back as an assistant coach for the Crimson TIde under Ray Perkins in 1984, a role in which he served until 1996.
Fuller was also a coach at Jacksonville State in the 1970s and served as their athletic director from 2003-2008.
McCants is considered one of the best linebackers in Crimson Tide history and tweeted his desire to be in the College Football Hall of Fame back in July.