TAMPA, Fla. – John Reaves, a college football record-setter who was steered toward sobriety and a stretch of success by the Vikings, was found dead at his home in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. He was 67.
Reaves finished his collegiate career at Florida as the top passer in NCAA history. He was drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1972, but drug and alcohol issues held him back until 1979, when he landed with the Vikings.
He never played a down for them, but they sent him to Hazelden in 1980, and for the next two decades Reaves lived a life of sobriety while becoming the No. 2 passer in the USFL’s history and then coaching eight years at Florida (1990-94) and South Carolina (1995-97).
Sobriety didn’t stick. Reaves was arrested on gun and drug possession charges in 2008.