LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen died at age 38 Wednesday after he was admitted to the hospital with serious medical issues less than a week ago.
“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 six days,” the family said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jared today (July 3, 2019). We appreciate all of the warm wishes and prayers but as a family, we would request your privacy. We will offer arrangement information in the coming days. Please keep Jared’s family, especially his children in your thoughts and prayers.”
Kentucky Sports Radio founder Matt Jones said Lorenzen “was one of the finest people I have ever known.”
“(He was) a better person than a player,” Jones tweeted. “He was a huge part of our KSR family and an even larger part of the BBN family. My heart is broken for his family and friends. God bless the soul of our amazing friend.”
Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops was saddened by Lorenzen's passing.
“We are heartbroken for Jared’s family and friends,” Stoops said. “Since I’ve been here, it has been obvious that he was one of the most popular players in school history. He was a proud member of the Kentucky football family and he will be greatly missed by the Big Blue Nation.”
Former Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown, the head coach at West Virginia, played alongsie Lorenzen while at Kentucky.
"A friend and former teammate that is gone way too soon," he said in a tweet. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, especially his children. Jared was a great athlete but also a wonderful personality. Very sad day for Kentucky."
Lorenzen was inducted into the Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015 and has been a staple around the football program.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of Jared Lorenzen’s passing,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “Jared was a uniquely gifted player who endeared himself to the Big Blue Nation with his passion for the game and his incredible talent. More importantly, he was a true Wildcat and a man whose love for the University of Kentucky was plain to see well after his playing days were over. That love was surpassed only by the love he had for his two children. We offer our support and condolences to them, as well as all of Jared’s family and friends.”
Lorenzen played at Kentucky from 2000-2003 and threw for a school record 10.354 yards. He later played for the New York Giants and was the backup signal caller on the 2008 squad that won the Super Bowl.
“Jared was a great teammate and friend," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said in a tweet. "We competed against each other in college and came to the Giants together. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always remember his competitive spirit and his good nature. Jared has left us all way too soon.”
While at Kentucky, Lorenzen, a left-handed quarterback, played for three different coaches — Hal Mumme, Guy Morriss and Rich Brooks — during his four-year career with the Wildcats.
Lorenzen had been battling weight problems for years. In an article posted on the USA Today website, he revealed that he had exceeded 500 pounds in 2017 when he enlisted the help of a trainer and nutritionist to help him lose weight.
He began producing YouTube videos about his weight loss project and reportedly dropped 100 pounds during the first year. But the statement released by his family said: “Jared had not been feeling well for a few weeks and that finally caught up with him.”
Lorenzen was named Mr. Kentucky Football after his senior season at Highlands in 1998. At that time, the left-handed quarterback held team passing records in career yardage (6,821), career touchdowns (89), single-season yardage (3,392) and single-season touchdowns (45).
At the University of Kentucky, where he picked up the nickname “Hefty Lefty,” he threw for a school-record 10,354 yards over four seasons. He was later signed by the New York Giants and was the back-up quarterback on its 2008 Super Bowl champion team.
Lorenzen retired from football after getting injured playing quarterback for the Northern Kentucky River Monsters arena team that he started.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21. Kentucky Forward sports reporter Terry Boehmker contributed to this article.