University of Kentucky football legend Jared Lorenzen died earlier today at the age of 38.
The family released a statement to Matt Jones of KentuckySportsRadio.com. It read, “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 past 6 days. We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jared today, July 3, 2019. Again, we appreciate all of 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.”
Lorenzen was born big, 13 pounds and three ounces to be exact, on Valentine’s Day in 1981. He was a larger-than-life figure who always had time to sign autographs for fans in the Bluegrass State.
Lorenzen was an incredible athlete coming out of Highlands High School in Covington, KY. He was named Kentucky’s Mr. Football in 1998 when he led Highlands to a 15-0 record and the Class 3A state title.
Lorenzen threw for 3,393 yards with a 45/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio during his senior season. He ran for 904 yards and 15 TDs, too. Lorenzen also played hoops, helping the Bluebirds to three straight Sweet Sixteen appearances from 1997 to 1999.
Former UK head coach Hal Mumme signed Lorenzen, who was redshirted during his first year in Lexington. In 2000, Mumme chose Lorenzen as his QB ahead of returning starter Dusty Bonner.
Lorenzen soon earned nicknames galore like “Hefty Lefty” and the “Pillsbury Throwboy.” He set school and NCAA freshman records by throwing for 3,687 yards.
An NCAA investigation led to Mumme’s dismissal after the 2000 campaign. As a sophomore under new head coach Guy Morriss, Lorenzen was benched early in the year in favor of Shane Boyd.
Lorenzen chose to stay at UK while transfer rumors swirled and eventually won his job back. As a junior in 2002, Lorenzen led the Wildcats to a 7-5 record, but they were ineligible for a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions.
UK struggled to a 4-8 record in Lorenzen’s senior campaign, but he still put up big numbers. He remains the school’s all-time leader in career passing yards (10,637), total yards from scrimmage and completions.
Lorenzen backed up Eli Manning for three seasons with the New York Giants, and he was just one play away from going under center in the 2008 Super Bowl against the undefeated New England Patriots.
Lorenzen was cut by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008. He only played in four NFL games, completing 4-of-8 passes for 28 yards.
Lorenzen bounced around the minor leagues of football for the next six years. Even as his weight soared, he could still sling it. In fact, he garnered UIFL MVP honors in 2011.
Lorenzen’s playing days ended for good in 2014, one year after he broke his leg playing for the Kentucky River Monsters, a regional arena league team. His weight issues grew worse after hanging up his helmet.
Lorenzen was featured on ESPN’s “E:60” series in 2017, as his struggles with weight were chronicled. He had ballooned to over 500 pounds and knew he was facing serious health issues if he didn’t get his eating issues under control.
Lorenzen reportedly lost more than 100 pounds in 2018. However, he had thyroid problems and issues with the leg he broke back in 2013.
With renal, kidney and heart issues mounting, Lorenzen was hospitalized six days ago. He succumbed to an acute infection and left us way too soon earlier today, leaving Big Blue Nation in mourning.
Rest easy, big fella.