California QB, a son of former NFL star, found dead at 18

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The son of a former NFL star quarterback who was playing in his final high school season as a backup passer for one of Southern California's most prominent football programs was found dead on Sunday, sending a high school community into mourning.

Thousand Oaks quarterback Griffen Kramer
Thousand Oaks quarterback Griffen Kramer

According to the Los Angeles Times and a handful of other Southern California sources, 18-year-old Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High senior quarterback Griffen Kramer was found dead on Sunday at the house of a close friend. School officials gave preliminary information that they believe, "his passing was due to alcohol poisoning." The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also confirmed that it has no reason to believe that there was any criminal activity involved in the teen's passing.

Kramer is the son of former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer, who starred for the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears from 1991 until 1998. He currently works for FSN Detroit as an in-studio analyst for Detroit Lions games. He has also served as a color commentator for Chicago Bears preseason games.

Griffen Kramer arrived at Thousand Oaks for his junior and senior seasons after transferring from Agoura (Calif.) High, where he had also been a quarterback. Kramer was stuck behind quarterback Clark Abourisk on the Lancers' depth chart after the junior emerged as one of the more promising signal-callers in Southern California.

"It's a tough time right now," Thousand Oaks football coach Mike Leibin told the Times. "We met this morning with players, and kids have been in and out of my office all day. We talked about the grieving process, and everybody is going to deal with it differently."

That includes the Kramer family, which has not offered public comment on the death beyond confirming that alcohol appears to have been involved.

If alcohol is confirmed as the predominant factor in Kramer's death, the teen will serve as another powerful warning against the risk incurred by teen binge drinking. It may always be unknown just how far the younger Kramer would have gone in football, but he was an unquestioned talent. Now there's little question that he will be sorely missed by his teammates and family.

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