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Gophers linebacker Tinsley found dead

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Associated Press
April 7, 2012
— Gary Tinsley, a Minnesota linebacker who had overcome some personal problems early in his Gophers career and was set to earn his degree in just a few weeks, was found dead in his campus apartment Friday morning, university officials said. He was 22.

Tinsley was found unresponsive in his apartment at Roy Wilkins Hall on the Minneapolis campus, university Police Chief Greg Hestness said.


The cause of death wasn’t immediately released as authorities awaited autopsy results from the medical examiner. Hestness said police were not aware of any pre-existing medical conditions that may have caused Tinsley’s death.


“It’s a very, very sad day for our football program and for our young men,” an emotional coach Jerry Kill said. “We lost one of ours today in Gary Tinsley, who I know is in a good place.”


Tinsley watched a movie with some teammates in his room on Thursday night and went to bed around 11 p.m., a team spokesman said. One of his roommates was brushing his teeth Friday morning when he heard Tinsley’s alarm sounding without being turned off. When the teammate went to check, he found Tinsley wasn’t breathing.


Emergency officials arrived on the scene minutes after a 911 call, but were not able to resuscitate him. Tinsley was pronounced dead at the scene about 8:15 a.m., Police did not find any signs of foul play, crime or injuries when they arrived, but are treating it as a suspicious death because “the death of a young athlete is out of the ordinary,” Hestness said.


Tinsley was recruited by former coach Tim Brewster from First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla. An athletic linebacker with a fiery demeanor, Tinsley ran into several problems off the field early in his time at Minnesota.


But Tinsley emerged as a team leader and was set to get his degree in business marketing education at commencement this spring.


Tinsley completed his eligibility at the end of the 2011 season. He lettered all four years and started every game over his final two seasons. He was No. 2 in total tackles with 87 last season and finished with 198 total tackles for his career. He was not expected to be chosen in the upcoming NFL draft, but was hoping to catch on as a rookie free agent.



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