Former NFL defensive lineman Shane Dronett was found dead at his home near Atlanta, Wednesday. The cause of death is yet to be determined. Dronett was recovering from a brain tumor that required surgery recently.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that an autopsy will be performed. The paper also reported that Gwinnett County

police had responded to a 911 suicide call that came from Dronett’s Sugarloaf address at 7:30 a.m.  The medical examiner’s office is

investigating the case.

Dronett leaves behind a wife Kris, and two daughters, Berkley and Hayley. Services are pending at Claybar Funeral Home.

A native of Bridge City, Dronett graduated from Bridge City High School in 1989. The former Bridge City Cardinal football great became a UT Longhorn where in 1991 he was named All-American.

Dronett was selected in the second round of the 1992 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos as a defensive end. In his first season with the Broncos, he played in 16 games. Dronett remained with the Broncos three seasons.

Dronett played briefly for the Detroit Lions but in 1997, the Atlanta Falcons, hired Dan Reeves who originally drafted Dronett to play for the Broncos. As the new head coach of the Falcons Reeves brought Dronett to Atlanta.

With Atlanta Dronett anchored a defense that ranked second in the NFL against the run. The Falcons won the 1998 NFC Championship. Dronett played in Super Bowl XXXIII but lost against his old team, the Broncos.

In January 2000, Dronett signed a five-year contract worth $20 million. That season Dronett suffered a torn ACl. The next two seasons Dronette suffered a series of injuries and a season-ending shoulder injury in August 2002. The next year the Falcons released Dronett from his contract.

Off the field, Dronett was co-owner of the Sports Canvas, a sports art gallery in Duluth, Ga.

The Falcons issued the following statement from owner Arthur Blank: “The entire Atlanta Falcons

family is saddened by the news of Shane Dronett’s passing. Our deepest

condolences are with his family during this difficult time.”

Dronett is among an elite group of local athletes inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur. His retired Bridge City Cardinal football jersey hangs in the foyer of the BCHS gymnasium.

This story will be updates as new information becomes available.

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