(CNN) — The girlfriend of Ryan Mallett, a former NFL quarterback who apparently drowned last week on a Florida beach, says she tried everything to save him.
“I trust that God has a plan for everything, but I don’t think I will ever be able to figure out why this happened,” Madison Carter wrote on Facebook.
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you, and I hope you know how hard I tried,” he added.
Lifeguards rushed to a beach after reporting a group of people in the water were struggling to reach shore, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said.
Mallett was part of the group and was underwater when emergency personnel pulled him out, according to the sheriff’s office. He was not breathing when he reached shore, authorities said.
Carter described Mallett as talented, dedicated and passionate.
“Those of us who were lucky enough to know your heart know that it was even bigger than your personality and your importance. It was never about you, but always about others,” he said. he writes.
“There are no words to express how much I miss you. I hope you know how much you are loved. By me, by your amazing family, by your friends, by your teammates, by your students and by countless others. I don’t know how I’ll be able to cope. But I’m so honored to love you and that you love me. You changed my life and I’ll be forever grateful for the time we shared,” she added.
Mallett was a star with the Arkansas Razorbacks before being selected in the third round in 2011 by the New England Patriots, according to the NFL. He spent seven years in the NFL with the Patriots, Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens.
He played in 21 games, started 3-5 and had 1,835 passing yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions, the NFL said. His career ended in 2017.
Authorities have issued a warning to swimmers after rip currents claimed at least 11 lives in two weeks last month along the Gulf Coast.
Destin’s beaches had yellow flags indicating “medium danger, moderate waves and/or currents”, although “no rip currents were present in the area where we responded to Ryan Mallett”, said the Destin Fire Control District in a statement.
Mallett’s death “appears to be just a tragic accident and has nothing to do with surf conditions, tides or currents,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden said.
NFL star Tom Brady shared a photo of himself and Mallett, his former Patriots teammate, online. “We have lost a wonderful man. Thank you for everything Ryan,” Brady wrote on Instagram. “I pray for the Mallett family and all their loved ones.”