UNLV, Nazareth Academy's Ryan Keeler Passes Away

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UNLV Lineman and Nazareth Academy Alumni Ryan Keeler Passes Away (and Other NFL Bullets)


Some sad news in the football world and the local landscape this morning as the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, announced the passing of defensive lineman Ryan Keeler late Monday night.

  • Keeler has just completed his redshirt freshman season at UNLV, according to a release by the program. Keeler was a graduate of Nazareth Academy in west suburban La Grange Park. The graduate of Nazareth Academy transferred to UNLV from Rutgers University last season and went on to play in seven games, totaling eight tackles.
  • An Academic All-Mountain West honoree, Keeler held a 3.80 grade point average in pre-business. UNLV football coach Barry Odom had this to say about Keeler’s sudden passing: “We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rebel family,” said first-year UNLV football head coach Barry Odom. “While I had the honor of knowing Ryan for only a couple of months, he already stood out to our coaching staff as an incredible person, student and teammate. Our condolences and prayers go out to Ryan’s family as we grieve along with them over this tremendous loss.”  
  • You can read the full UNLV press release here:
  • Keeler’s cause of death hasn’t been released as of this morning. Nazareth Academy shared their disbelief and heartbreak in a tweet this morning:
  • Here are some of the social media posts about Keeler this morning from friends, teammates, and former coaches:
  • No matter the cause of death, seeing the loss of life at such a young age is always difficult. My thoughts are with the Keeler family this morning as they search for answers and eventual closure.

  • Switching gears to some NFL news here this morning, the Indianapolis Colts are expected to name Jim Bob Cooter their new offensive coordinator. ESPN’s Stephen Holder reported on Monday that Cooter will join Shane Steichen in Indianapolis.
  • Cooter spent last season in Jacksonville as the Jaguars’ passing game coordinator. He joins the staff of new head coach Shane Steichen, who was hired away from the Eagles last week. He and Steichen worked together briefly in Philadelphia when Cooter served as a coaching consultant in 2021. Prior to his one-year stint with the Eagles, Cooter was a running backs coach with the Jets in 2019 and 2020 and served as the Lions’ offensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018. Shane Steichen will call the offensive plays for the Colts this season.
  • New Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon is retaining special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers. Rodgers was the Chicago Bears special teams coordinator from 2015-17 under former head coach John Fox.
  • So, today is the first day that NFL teams can place the franchise tag on eligible players. One of the early candidates to receive the tag is Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. While Joe Schoen and the Giants made it seem like reaching an agreement on an extension with Daniel Jones was priority No. 1, the agent switch – at this point in the negotiations – makes it seem possible that those negotiations have hit a wall.
  • Reports indicate that Jones is looking for a new contract in the ballpark of $45 million per year. The Giants can franchise tag him, with the non-exclusive tag, for $32.416 million next season. They do run the risk of another team being able to negotiate with Jones if they take that path. But it’s unlikely that anyone will pay Jones that much if the team that drafted and raved about him after one good season will. So, the Giants could go that route and not worry about other teams swooping in and signing Jones. Plus, even if someone did, the Giants would be compensated with draft picks.
  • You can read more about the latest on Jones here:
  • Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson are also candidates for the franchise tag. You can read more about them here:
  • Our NFL offseason previews march on this afternoon. We’ve got the Packers and Steelers dropping today, and if you missed it, the Lions and Browns went yesterday afternoon:
  • The Bulls are bringing a local product to town for the remainder of the season:
  • Luis dives into the so-called character issues of one of the NFL Draft’s top prospects:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.