OXFORD – Tony Fein’s Ole Miss football career spanned just two seasons, but that was more than enough time to greatly impact at least one local family.
Tupelo resident Christy Comer emailed the Daily Journal on Wednesday to describe a side of Fein different than seen in some recent media coverage before his sudden death on Tuesday at age 27.
Fein, an Iraq war veteran and NFL rookie linebacker who played with the Baltimore Ravens during the preseason, died of unexplained causes after collapsing at a friend’s house in what his agent said appears to be “an accidental situation” The Associated Press reported.
Fein, a native of Washington state, met Comer and her family while at Ole Miss. A friendship grew threw chatting on an internet social website, and Fein soon began to look for Comer and her children, Abby and Noah, at each home game.
“He would send Abby encouraging notes about softball and school and would tell me to be sure I read them to her. To an eight-year-old girl that was everything,” Comer said.
Fein would stop during the team’s walk through the Grove and greet the family with hugs and high fives. The Comers would greet the team at the airport after some road games, and Fein was eager to walk to the fence and chat.
“On occasion, if Abby asked, he’d come by our tent after the game. He’d talk to everyone and take pictures. The last time was Senior Day last year,” Comer said.
Comer said her children took the news of Fein’s death hard, crying to the point of illness.
Fein was arrested on Aug. 23 and charged with misdemeanor assault on a police officer after an incident at a restaurant at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in which the officer reportedly mistook his cellular telephone for a handgun. Fein said he was innocent.
“My family and I were deeply saddened to learn of Tony’s death. Everything we’ve read so far mention’s the incident in Baltimore with the police officer. I have no idea what happened that night, but it’s not the only thing Tony ever did. I don’t want him to be remembered for that one bad night.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Parrish Alford/ NEMS Daily Journal