Former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen dies at 38

Jared Lorenzen threw for over 10,000 yards at Kentucky. (Getty Images)
Jared Lorenzen threw for over 10,000 yards at Kentucky. (Getty Images)

Former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen, the school’s all-time leader in passing yards, died Wednesday. He was 38.

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Lorenzen was admitted into the hospital over the weekend because of an infection and his family said he was experiencing cardiac and kidney issues. The family released a statement to Kentucky Sports Radio Wednesday afternoon.

“It is with heavy hearts that the family of Jared Lorenzen would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation for all of your support and prayers over the last six days. We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jared today, July 3, 2019. Again, we appreciate all the warm wishes and prayers, but as a family, we would request your respect and privacy. We will offer arrangement information in the coming days. Please keep Jared’s family and especially his children in your thoughts and prayers.”

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Lorenzen threw for over 10,000 yards at UK

Lorenzen was a four-year starter for the Wildcats from 2000-03. He has the most passing yards in school history — 10,354 — and threw for 78 touchdowns to 41 interceptions in his UK career.

He was nicknamed the “Hefty Lefty” during his playing career and went on to spend time with the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL. He was one of the most fun college football players of his era thanks to the combination of his size and quarterbacking skills.

His best season came in 2002 when Kentucky won seven games. Lorenzen threw 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Lorenzen, who was listed at 260 pounds when he played at Kentucky, struggled with his weight after his playing career was over. He said he weighed over 500 pounds at one point after he hadn’t stepped on a scale in eight years after he was cut by the Colts. That inspired him to launch the Jared Lorenzen Project to help others lose weight. The video series documented his roller-coaster journey with weight loss.

A fantastic 2014 feature in ESPN The Magazine detailed the issues Lorenzen dealt with regarding his post-playing career size. In it, he said he was 303 pounds in his final season with the Colts and didn’t know how much he weighed when he moonlighted in an indoor football league not long before the story was written.

I ASK LORENZEN: Do you wonder whether you would've had a better career if you'd been in better shape? "Maybe I'd still be playing," he says. "But I don't know how much better it could be."

For four years, he starred in the SEC. For three more, he got to step onto the field as an NFL player. He was so thrilled just to be in the league that every time the Giants played in a stadium he'd never been to, he took a ball in warm-ups and fired it into the upper deck. He hoped somebody up there would remember him.

Lorenzen won a Super Bowl ring while serving as the backup quarterback to Eli Manning during the 2007 season. He appeared in four games in 2006 and 2007 for the Giants and was cut by the Colts after he signed with them ahead of the 2008 season.

Manning released a statement Wednesday afternoon about Lorenzen’s death.

“Jared was a great teammate and friend,” the two-time Super Bowl winner said. “We competed against each other in college and came to the Giants together in 2004. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always remember his competitive spirit and his good nature. Jared has left us all way too soon.”

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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