The news that former New York Giants and Iowa safety Tyler Sash has died at the age 27 shocked his former teammates, coaches and family.
Jeff Woody, an Iowa State University alumnus and former college running back who met Sash (a former University of Iowa player) on a "handful of occasions," wrote a fitting tribute to Sash on his blog Tuesday revealing that the late football player dreamed of returning to the NFL and revive his career.
"He had the dream he was going to go back to the NFL," longtime Oskaloosa coach Jerry Staton reportedly said. "He kind of kept that hope alive."
According to Woody, he received news of the Sash's death through a text message from a former teammate. "My immediate response was to call him a liar," he writes. "He backed it up with dark, unsettling facts, confirming the depressing truth."
He recalled working with Sash last fall on the CyHawk Rewind TV show on Channel 5 in Des Moines. Woody described Sash as nervous and jittery when they first met, which he assumed was because it was his first time to be on live television. It was only after they got to trash-talk about the 'Clones and Hawks that the late football player began to loosen up.
Sash, Woody said, always lightens up whenever he talks about his Hawkeyes, Giants or about his playing days.
Woody writes, "And now he is dead at 27. This is a cold, harsh, gut-punching reality. We don't yet know the full details surrounding his death, other than that he was found dead Tuesday morning in his hometown of Oskaloosa. An autopsy by the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner said lab tests and additional investigations are needed to pinpoint the cause of Sash's death.
"That said, I have a good idea as to what was going on in his soul -- Staton spoke to it too -- and I was guilty of stoking the flame. I have felt what he felt too, and I had to deal with it the way I knew how.
"Football is a great game. It is the ultimate team sport. In soccer, if your left midfielder isn't as good as the rest of your team, you simply shade the defense over him and phase him out of the offense. If a right fielder in baseball isn't an adequate hitter, you just assume him to be a liability in the lineup an bury him in the 8th slot. But in football, if your 'Mike' linebacker or left guard are inadequate, the opponent will seize that opportunity and exploit the mismatch. The game teaches you how to be tough; it teaches you how to lead; it teaches you to follow; it teaches you respect, fairness, compassion, empathy, togetherness and citizenship; and it teaches you how to be a better human. It provides you an outlet for your aggression and passions. And it brings attention."
The cause of Sash's death remains unknown. But authorities are scheduled to conduct an autopsy on Wednesday to determine if the cause of death is suicide or overdose.