Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams, 26, died Sunday morning after he was taken to a Greenwood, S.C., emergency room and pronounced dead at 9 a.m according to County Coroner James T. Coursey.
The coroner said a preliminary autopsy indicated Adams died of cardiac arrest caused by an enlarged heart.
"We are stunned and saddened by the news of Gaines' passing," the Bears said in a statement. "Our prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
The 6-foot-5 and 256 pound former Clemson football player was the No.4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft pick in 2007. He was traded to Chicago in October of 2009. He was well-known among Clemson fans for breaking up Wake Forest's field goal try and returning it for a touchdown in 2006 to defeat the Demon Deacons.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement about Gaines which said "I remember him at the 2007 Draft as a fine young man." His statement als said "our condolences to Gaines' family, his teammates on the Bears and Buccaneers, and their organizations on their loss."
Although in 47 games over three seasons with the Bucs and then the Bears, Gaines Adams had 67 tackles, including 13.5 sacks. However, he did not live up to the expectations of the Buccaneers. He fell short of the goals of Buc's coach Raheem Morris. Adams was considered a bust when he didn't reach double digits in sacks.
Morris also called out the third-year pro after Adams began the season with lackluster performances in the first three games. In statements shortly after Adams admitted that the coach needs to stay on the players to get the best from them.
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