Body of former NFL player James Hardy found in Indiana river

Toni Houston
June 11, 2017

An employee with Fort Wayne's water filtration plant conducting regular rounds discovered the body and notified authorities.

According to TMZ, Hardy was committed to a state mental institution in 2014 after he was arrested for attacking several officers in Los Angeles.

Hardy's condition at the time of his death is unknown, although his family realized he was missing on May 30 and reported it to the police, NewsChannel 15 reports.

The Allen County Coroner's Office has reportedly identified a body found in the river on Wednesday as Hardy. Hep was like a father figure to James, and his passing was something that was hard for Hardy to accept.

Fort Wayne Public Information Officer Michael Joyner confirmed to The Buffalo News on Thursday that the body was that of Hardy, 31. After that season, he had become Indiana's all-time receiving leader in touchdowns, yards, and receptions. He played 16 games for the Bills, in which he hauled in 10 catches, 96 yards and two touchdowns. His fantastic play earned him the honor of being named a Freshman All-America that season. The Bills selected Hardy in the second round.

Hardy was a local star, having played his high school ball at Elmhurst High School and his college ball at Indiana.

Former Indiana coach Bill Lynch, who joined Terry Hoeppner's football staff in 2005 before taking control of the program after Hoeppner's death in 2007, remembers the bond Hardy developed with Hoeppner during his time in Bloomington. He stopped playing basketball after the 2004-05 season to concentrate on football.

Hardy was a standout receiver at IN, and spent two seasons with Buffalo after being drafted IN the second round by the team IN 2008.

The Bills released a statement in the wake of his passing. He signed briefly with the Ravens in 2011 but was ultimately cut because of hamstring issues. After his National Football League career, Hardy moved to California and tried to pursue a modeling and acting career.

The Rumblings staff offers our condolences to Hardy's family and friends during this hard time.

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