Ex-NFL, former IU football player James Hardy’s death ruled suicide by drowning

File photo of James Hardy

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The death of ex-NFL player and former IU football star James Hardy was ruled a suicide by the Allen County Coroner’s Office.

The coroner released the findings on Wednesday, and according to his report, the cause of death was determined to be asphyxia due to drowning.

Hardy’s body was found by an employee with Fort Wayne’s water filtration plant in the Maumee River on June 7.

The 31-year-old Fort Wayne native was a top basketball prospect in the state coming out of Elmhurst High School. He arrived at Indiana University in 2004 with the intent of playing hoops, but after just one season, he decided to switch sports and play football.

He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills prior to graduation in 2008. He suffered a hamstring injury during his time in Buffalo, and he was released by the team in 2010. He was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens for a short time, but ultimately, his NFL career ended in 2011.

WANE reports that Hardy had been back in Fort Wayne for three weeks before his mother, Jeanie Summerville, reported him missing on May 26. Summerville told WANE the day before he disappeared, he told her he had to leave town or he would die.