Super Bowl XLVI winner Mitch Petrus died Thursday from heat stroke, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The former offensive lineman for the New York Jets and University of Arkansas was 32.
Petrus reportedly died shortly before 11 p.m. at the Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock after reporting that he felt sick after working outside all day at his family's shop during an extreme heat wave on Thursday. With the heat index over 100-degrees throughout the state, Pulaski County Coroner Gene Hobbs gave heat stroke as the cause of Petrus' death.
A heat advisory is in effect again on Friday for roughly the northern half of Arkansas, while much of the Midwest and East Coast is in the midst of an intense heat wave.
According to 24/7 Sports, Petrus walked on to the University of Arkansas football team as a fullback in 2007 and quickly moved to the offensive line, here he helped clear the way for two 1,000-yard rushers that year, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. In 2009, he was named to the All-SEC first team by coaches in the conference.
After the 2009 season, he made the jump to the professional level and was drafted by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent two seasons with the Giants and won Super Bowl XLVI with the team over the New England Patriots in the 2011 season, where he played in every postseason game. He also played on practice squads for both the Patriots and Tennessee Titans before retiring from football in 2013, after which he returned to central Arkansas.
Arkansas' football program mourned the loss of Petrus in a statement shared to Twitter on Friday morning. "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mitch Petrus. He was an outstanding competitor, incredible teammate and a true Hog. He will be greatly missed by many. Rest easy Mitch," the statement read.
Chris Mortensen, a host for ESPN's Sunday Night Football, also took to Twitter to memorialize Petrus.
"We are grieving the loss of Mitch Petrus, a close friend of our family, especially my son Alex. He was all SEC guard for [Razorback FB] and played on [Giants] 2011 Super Bowl champion team," Mortensen tweeted.
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