Former New York Giants and Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Jared Lorenzen died Wednesday of multiple health issues. He was 38.
Lorenzen had been in the hospital since last Friday, when he was admitted to the ICU for “an infection, kidney [and] heart issues.” Matt Jones of KentuckySportsRadio.com, where Lorenzen occasionally covered football, reported the ex-QB’s death, and passed along a statement from the family:
As quarterbacks go, Lorenzen was uncommon: left-handed and large, supposedly 300 pounds in college. He was the Hefty Lefty, the Pillsbury Throwboy, the Covington Colossus. But the attention he received for his size would’ve faded away quickly had he not been a pretty good quarterback. He still holds Kentucky’s record for career passing yards with 10,354, and he was more athletic than anyone thought, as his former college coach Hal Mumme told Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. Read that article for a few excellent anecdotes. Here’s one about Lorenzen’s cannon of an arm:
After Lorenzen had signed with Kentucky, the Wildcats had a summer camp with eight to 10 highly recruited high school QB prospects. “We set up two red dummies about 20 yards downfield and we had a receiver standing in between and the quarterbacks had to throw this hole shot,” Mumme says. “We had someone standing behind them with a radar gun. Most of the quarterbacks were hitting between 48-52 mph.
“Jared watched this drill. We’d never done it before. He goes, ‘Hey, can I try it?’
Mumme said, “Go ahead, big guy.”
“Jared goes out there in penny loafers and an oxford shirt and wings it. He throws it 68. He hadn’t warmed up either.”
After a solid college career, Lorenzen went undrafted in the NFL but signed with the Giants. Although he didn’t have any significant highlights, he did play an important role in the leadup to Super Bowl 42 against the Patriots, hassling Eli Manning in practice to simulate the defensive pressure and force the starting QB to escape. Surely you remember the pivotal moment from that game.
By 2008, Lorenzen was out of the NFL and drifting around wherever he could play. He resurfaced in 2014, in a much livelier age of the internet, playing for the Continental Indoor Football League’s Northern Kentucky River Monsters. He was listed at 320 pounds then. About a week after he had his second wave of popularity, he broke his tibia while running toward the end zone. That was the end of football for him.
Lorenzen didn’t want to be the same guy for the rest of his life, and when he reached 500 pounds in 2017, he committed himself to losing as much weight as he could. Almost a year after his project started, he said he had lost almost 100 pounds. Lorenzen kept a positive attitude and tried to shed the weight that had brought him fame. In the end, his body failed him.