Keith McCants, Former Bucs Draft Pick Dies At 53

Keith McCants, died Thursday in St. Petersburg. Former Bucs first-round draft pick, was found dead due to drug overdose, however investigation are still underway, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. Keith McCants, had a great six-year NFL career, however this was followed by a downward spiral due to self-infliction that included a dependence on painkillers and eventually other drugs.

Amanda Sinni, sheriff’s spokesperson said, “It appears it was a drug overdose, but we are awaiting confirmation from the Medical Examiner’s Office, This is still an open investigation.”

On Thursday at 5:10 a.m. Deputies responded Mr. McCants residence where he stayed with his roommate at 2833 62nd Ave. N in St. Petersburg. The Sheriff’s Office said, when officers arrived on scene at 2833 62nd Ave, Mr. McCants was deceased.

In early 2021 Keith McCants spoke openly about negative effects of using drug and numerous arrests as a cautionary experience to youngsters. Mr. McCants had udnergone hip-replacement surgery in Jan 2021.

Mr. McCants had been arrested and had at least three convictions over the past two decades on charges of possessing drugs. Robert Blackmon, a close friend of Keith said, “I’m still shocked that a guy who’s 53 years old can be gone who was a titan of his peers, But also from where he was when I met him, I’m happy we were able to get as long as we did. I just wished he could’ve found more peace and happiness on earth.”, Mr. McCants and Mr Blackmon were friends for more than a decade and Mr. Blackmon had helped him pay for the costs of his recent surgery.

In the 1990 NFL draft Mr. McCants was selected by the Bucs with the No. 4 overall pick and a unanimous first-team All-America linebacker, however he required knee surgery two days after the draft, due to this he was shifted from linebacker to defensive end in Tampa Bay. The knee surgery stymied his pro NFL career. This lead to increases in his financial and legal troubles. His pro career ended after his season with Arizona in 1995. Ian Beckles, a former Bucs offensive lineman, said “Unfortunately, it isn’t that big of a surprise, because Keith has been going through some tough things throughout the years,”

On dawn of St. Petersburg’s primary election day, a few weeks earlier, Mr. McCants phoned Blackmon and spoke about how he was trying to get support for the candidate, in which Blackmon had received enough votes to face Ken Welch in the Nov. 2 general election.

“I’d seen the happiness in him for the first time, and he seemed like a different guy than I had ever known, We were really discussing, ‘Hey, you’re going to be around for a long time now.” Blackmon added.

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