Aaron Douglas, the child of two University of Tennessee star athletes, spoke openly about battling depression even while entrenched in a starting role with the Vols, but six weeks after the former Tennessee and then-current Alabama offensive lineman was found dead in Florida, the investigation into his last hours doesn't point to a suicide attempt: The Duval County medical examiner's office has released a report citing an accidental drug overdose as his cause of death. The Knoxville News-Sentinel has obtained a copy of the release:
Douglas, who had transferred to Alabama for the 2011 season, had multiple drugs, including methadone, diazepam and traces of oxycodone, in his system when he was found dead early May 12 in a Fernandina Beach, Fla., home. [...] Douglas had consumed no alcohol in the hours before his death, according to the report.
Words, as ever, do absolutely no justice to this manner of story. Knoxville football fans had watched Douglas wreck shop on opposing defenders since his days as a Maryville High School bruiser, and now neither they nor his new base in Tuscaloosa will ever get to cheer him again. Douglas had risen to the second-team ranks with the Crimson Tide by this year's A-Day game, following offseason foot surgery, and no amount of repetitions of "terrible" or "senseless" can begin to describe how cosmically wrong it is that he'll never again don pads and cleats and take the field on a cool fall Saturday. Our sincerest condolences to his family and to both the Tennessee and Alabama football communities.