SaberCats Player, 26, Found Dead

Sudden passing of SaberCats player, 26, shocks team.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, May 30, 2012  |  Updated 7:55 AM PDT
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On Saturday night, Johnie Kirton scored the game-winning touchdown. On Monday night, the San Jose SaberCats fullback was dead at 26.

On Saturday night, Johnie Kirton scored the game-winning touchdown. On Monday night, the San Jose SaberCats fullback was dead at 26.

On Saturday night, Johnie Kirton scored the game-winning touchdown. On Monday night, the San Jose SaberCats fullback was dead at 26.

Kirton was found dead in his hotel room in Santa Clara on Monday night, according to the San Jose Mercury News. No cause of death for the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Everett, Wash., native has yet been announced.

His passing left his teammates stunned, the newspaper reported.

"Nobody knows much at this point," said quarterback Mark Grieb, in comments to the newspaper.

Kirton joined the team on May 9. He scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner, in San Jose's 84-77 win on Saturday.

His body was discovered by a teammate who received a phone call from Kirton's worried girlfriend, the newspaper reported.

He was found after 11 p.m. Monday, according to police.

Kirton was a prep star in 2003, named the state Player of the Year. He was a captain on the University of Washington's squad as a senior in 2008.

He leaves behind a young daughter.

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