TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Andre Waters, a defensive back who spent most of his 12 seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Monday. He was 44.
His body was found at about 1:30 a.m. at his Tampa home, the medical examiner's office said. He had shot himself in the head. Toxicology reports were ordered, and results will be available in four to six weeks, the office said.
Waters' body was found by his girlfriend, Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. The woman's name was not available, and the sheriff's office had no further details, Carter added.
Waters, an assistant football coach at Fort Valley State in Georgia, joined the Eagles out of Cheyney State in 1984 and played with them at cornerback and safety through 1993. He was known as one of the NFL's hardest hitters and often was fined for some of his tackles. He spent his last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who worked with Waters in Philadelphia, called his death a tragic loss.
"The personnel staff there when we got here said, 'This guy will never play for you. He'll never play for you.' And he proved everybody wrong," Fisher said. "He had a huge heart, and this is a loss."
Waters was in his first year coaching at Fort Valley State. Many students, including football players, are not on campus this week because of Thanksgiving.
"Everybody has been in such shock," Fort Valley State spokeswoman Cindy Gambill said.
Football coach Deondri Clark lauded Waters for an "outstanding" college career that enabled him to make the NFL.
Waters, who was born in Belle Glade, also coached at Morgan State, South Florida and Alabama State before coming to Fort Valley State this summer.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
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