Former NFL running back Alex Collins died at the age of 28, according to his agent, Kelli Masters.
No cause of death was given.
A fifth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2016, Collins was released by Seattle a year later and became one of the biggest surprises on the 2017 Baltimore Ravens. Collins led Baltimore with 973 yards rushing and six touchdowns, celebrating each score with an Irish dance that he learned from the daughter of his high school football coach.
In a statement Monday night, the Ravens said: “With heavy hearts, we mourn the passing of Alex Collins. Always quick to greet everyone with a smile, he was a genuinely kind person who carried a special joy and passion wherever he went. May Alex always be remembered for the light and love he brought to so many people in his life.”
With heavy hearts, we mourn the passing of Alex Collins. pic.twitter.com/IDywUZ8m73
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 15, 2023
In 2018, Collins struggled to match the same success and was placed on injured reserve in December because of a foot injury. Baltimore released him four months later after he was charged on gun and drug violations. He returned to Seattle in 2020 and 2021 and was the team’s lead back for a time after starter Chris Carson was injured.
In a social media post, former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson called Collins one of his favorite teammates.
To one of my favorite teammates.
You brought joy to every huddle.
Keep Dancin’ in Heaven.
Love you AC. Forever missed. #RIP pic.twitter.com/X6dbhWzifH
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) August 15, 2023
Collins most recently played this spring with the USFL’s Memphis Showboats, rushing for 98 yards and a touchdown in three games.
“Alex was a joy to be around and someone whose light shined brightly,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “I’ll always remember him for being a great teammate who had an uplifting spirit that impacted everyone he encountered. He was also a smart player who ran with unlimited determination, and he contributed to a lot of our success during his time in Baltimore.”
Before the NFL, Collins starred at Arkansas, where he rushed for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons and scored 20 touchdowns as a junior.
Ryan Mallett, a backup quarterback for that 2017 Ravens team who also starred at Arkansas in college, also died earlier this summer. He drowned in late June while swimming with his girlfriend in Florida.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this story.