Former Grand Valley State quarterback Cullen Finnerty was found dead on Tuesday, two days after he went missing in the woods of northern Michigan. Reports say that police found the 30-year-old’s body around 8 pm.
Finnerty led Grand Valley State University to three Division II national titles and more than 50 wins during his four years as a starter. He went missing on Sunday while out fishing near his family’s cottage.
Lake County Undersheriff Dennis Robinson explained that Finnerty’s cause of death wasn’t clear. However, no foul play was suspected. The search for the former quarterback involved several police and volunteers, including staff and players from Grand Valley State.
Cullen Finnerty was last heard from on Sunday night in a phone call. He reportedly confessed “he was nervous bout something,” Sheriff Robert Hilts explained. He added that, based on the call, the family suspected “he might be having some kind of a mental episode — that he was either afraid or something and ran off into the woods.”
Authorities were tracking Finnerty’s cell phone in an attempt to track the former quarterback down as well. That worked, until the phone went dead. Hilts added that the terrain around the family’s cabin made the search for Finnerty difficult. Citing logjams and dense brush, Hilts commented, “This is the last river that I’d pick to fish. And it’s a very tough river to navigate.”
Searchers from the sheriff’s office, state police, and fire departments in the area fanned out on Tuesday to cover a square-mile area of Webber Township, about 65 miles north of Grand Rapids. Dozens of current and former Grand Valley State players, coaches, and staff also headed north to Lake County to help the search effort for one of their own.
After his time in college football, Finnerty went on to become a brief member of the Baltimore Ravens, then the Denver Broncos. Cullen Finnerty’s body was discovered in a wooded area, not in the water. An autopsy will be done to determine how he died.