The Indianapolis Colts organization was hit with heartbreaking news on Thursday when word came out that Jake Ehlinger, Texas linebacker and brother of quarterback Sam Ehlinger, was found dead near the the Longhorns’ campus.
As of this writing, the cause of death has been not released and authorities don’t consider any “suspicious” activity contributed to the tragedy.
The elder Ehlinger, who just realized his lifelong dream of becoming an NFL player after he was drafted in the sixth round by the Colts, promptly departed rookie camp to mourn with his family and the organization arranged his travel accommodations to fly him back to Austin.
It goes without saying that nobody deserves to reckon with such an unspeakable tragedy, but Ehlinger’s recent timeline of events is uniquely devastating. Outside of a few signature moments with the Longhorns, being drafted was undoubtedly the single greatest achievement of his young life.
Less than a week later, he’s mourning the death of his brother, who was very much a part of the big day.
We were excited to share the footage from the moment Ehlinger received the call from Indianapolis, but it rings extremely hollow in light of this heartbreaking development.
Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s draft day footage is now heartbreaking following his brother’s death.
The two brothers were literally embracing when Sam got the call. We are speechless.
What should’ve been a multi-week long celebration within the Ehlinger family has unfortunately morphed into an extended grieving period. Nothing about this is fair, and it’s up to the Colts’ organization and its fan base to support him and his family during this difficult time.
"“There are no magic words in these moments, but all we can do is be there to love and support Sam,” head coach Frank Reich said in a statement to NFL Media. “We will do everything we can. With Sam, our thoughts and prayers are with him and his mother and his sister as they mourn the tragic death of Sam’s brother, Jake.”"
The younger Ehlinger had offers to play in the Ivy League, but instead chose to follow in his brother’s footsteps of playing for Texas, a team they grew up watching religiously as season-ticket holders. He joined as a walk-on and didn’t play in either of his first two seasons, redshirting in 2019 before being promoted to a backup role last season.
The older Ehlinger was likely going to compete with Jacob Eason this offseason for the Colts’ backup quarterback job. Leaving rookie camp at the drop of a hat will likely derail any chance the rookie had at coming out on top, but that’s obviously not what matters right now.
The 22-year-old quarterback is on his own schedule now and he should take all the time necessary before he even considers returning to football.