The sad tale of James Hardy got even more grim Wednesday.
Officials from the Allen County (Indiana) Coroner's Office announced that the former Buffalo Bills wide receiver's death was ruled a suicide. His body was discovered June 7 in the Maumee River in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind. Chief Investigator Michael Burris said in a statement that the cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning.
That determination, according to Burris, was based on Hardy's medical and psychiatric history, his contacts with law enforcement and other evidence, some of which was found on his body. Hardy, 31, was reported missing by his mother May 30.
According to a report in the Indianapolis Star, "an employee with the city’s water filtration plant found Hardy’s body as he walked along the catwalk on his regular rounds. Officials who recovered his body that evening said it appeared that Hardy been in the water for some time, but it remains unclear when Hardy went under."
Hardy was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round in 2008. He played in 16 games over two seasons, with 10 catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. After being released by the Bills, he had a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens, but never played in another regular-season game.
He fell on hard times after leaving football. He was charged with resisting arrest after a confrontation with police in Los Angeles in 2014, but a judge ruled him not mentally competent to stand trial.