A body found in an Indiana river Wednesday has been identified as former Indiana University football star and NFL draft pick, James Hardy, according to the coroner’s office. He was 31.
Officer Mike Joyner, of the Fort Wayne police department, said Hardy’s mom reported him missing on May 30. Per the coroner’s office, Hardy’s body was found around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in the Maumee River at the Hosey Dam, reports IndyStar.com.
An employee with the city’s water filtration plant discovered the body as he walked along the catwalk on his regular rounds. A water resource team attempted to retrieve him, but the strong current made it difficult. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources was dispatched and Hardy’s body was eventually pulled free from a logjam around 5 p.m., officials said. It appeared that the body had been in the water for a while.
Michael Burris, chief investigator for the Allen County Coroner’s Office, said Hardy’s cause and manner of death remain under investigation. The Fort Wayne Police Department is also working to determine if any foul play was involved.
Hardy was a record-setting wide receiver for the Hoosiers from 2005-07, amassing 2,740 yards and 36 receiving touchdowns before entering the NFL draft. He led the Big Ten in receiving touchdowns in both 2006 and 2007.
The 6’8″ athlete was drafted in the 2nd round by the Buffalo Bills in 2008. His post-football career included a 2014 arrest for attacking police officers and a stint in a medical facility.
However, his friends remember him as a nice, outgoing and generous guy who was an incredible athlete, according to TMZ.