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Former South Kitsap QB Tony Fein found dead

Former South Kitsap quarterback Tony Fein, who was released after a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens this summer, was found dead on Wednesday. - Courtesy photo
Former South Kitsap quarterback Tony Fein, who was released after a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens this summer, was found dead on Wednesday.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Former South Kitsap High School quarterback Tony Fein was found dead Tuesday morning after collapsing at a friend’s house outside of Port Orchard.

Fein, 27, who was a quarterback under D.J. Sigurdson in 1999-00, was found lying down and unconscious, vomiting and barely breathing when paramedics arrived just before 9 a.m. Tuesday at a house on the 2500 block of Salmonberry Road, said Mike Wernet, a battalion chief and medical officer with South Kitsap Fire & Rescue.

The medics put a breathing tube down Fein’s throat after he stopped breathing and administered medication, but he went into cardiac arrest during the drive to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:48 a.m. Tuesday, Wernet said.

“It feels like we lost a member of our family,” Sigurdson said. “My prayers and thoughts go out to his family. It's just a bad day.”

Fein enlisted in the Army as a 19-year-old and served 2 1/2 years in Iraq as a 19 Delta reconnaissance scout.

He later enrolled at Arizona’s Scottsdale Community College, where he became one of the nation’s top linebacker recruits.

Fein committed to Ole Miss and racked up 136 tackles (77 solo) in 24 games for the Rebels in 2007-08.

Fein was released Sept. 5 by the Ravens.

He also had a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks earlier this year, but was cut.

“Tony Fein was a really good teammate, a tremendous American, a tremendous young man ... just a really good person,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters before Wednesday’s practice in Owings Mills, Md. “We were proud to have him here as part of our team. We’re unbelievably disappointed about the news.”

Wernet said a man and woman, who described Fein as a friend, were present.

“They didn’t really give us a lot of information about what had happened the night before,” he said, adding that the two witnesses were upset. “They didn’t give us anything to imply anything strange was going on.”

Wernet said there were no indications of foul play or alcohol or drug abuse.

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office was not summoned.

“There was nothing indicating any foul play,” Wernet said. “That’s why we didn’t call law enforcement.”

An autopsy is scheduled for this weekend, but no report will be issued before all toxicology and other tests are complete, likely in six to eight weeks, said Allen G. Gerdes, Kitsap County chief deputy coroner, told the Independent.

Fein, 27, was embroiled in a controversial matter in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in August, where he was charged with misdemeanor assault of a police officer while dining at a restaurant with friends.

The group was passing around a large, silver cellular phone, but employees at the restaurant suspected it to be a handgun after a recent spate of violence in the area and called the authorities.

According to the police report, when Fein was confronted and refused to stand up, he shoved an officer in the chest and was arrested.

Fein denied the allegations.

His agent called the event racial profiling.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia A. Jessamy, said prosecutors had notified Fein and his attorney last week that charges in that case would be dropped Wednesday morning, citing conflicting witness statements.

Veteran Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis served as a mentor to Fein during the team’s training camp.

“A humble young man,” he told the Baltimore Sun. “Our hearts definitely go out to his family because it’s such a tragedy for a man to be that young and go through the things he’s been through.”

Fein’s agent, Milton D. Hobbs, a lawyer in Oxford, Miss., told several media outlets that he spoke with Fein on Friday and had spoken with Fein’s sister, mother and some friends since his death.

He would not discuss a possible cause of death.

Hobbs said he discussed the prospect of Fein playing in the Canadian Football League. He said there was some contact before Fein’s death, but none lately.

Sigurdson coached Fein and his brother, Richard, in 2000. Richard Fein, a wide receiver and defensive back, was eligible to play as a freshman that year because the levy failure eliminated football at the junior highs at that time.

“We’re just thinking about the family,” he said. “Our thoughts are with them.”

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