Former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen dies at 38

Former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen, the school’s all-time leader in passing yards, died Wednesday. He was 38.

Lorenzen was admitted into the hospital over the weekend because of an infection and his family said he was experiencing cardiac and kidney issues. The family released a statement to Kentucky Sports Radio Wednesday afternoon.

“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 last six days. We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jared today, July 3, 2019. Again, we appreciate all the warm wishes and prayers, but as a family, we would request your respect and privacy. We will offer arrangement information in the coming days. Please keep Jared’s family and especially his children in your thoughts and prayers.”

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Lorenzen threw for over 10,000 yards at UK

Lorenzen was a four-year starter for the Wildcats from 2000-03. He has the most passing yards in school history — 10,354 — and threw for 78 touchdowns to 41 interceptions in his UK career.

He was nicknamed the “Hefty Lefty” during his playing career and went on to spend time with the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL. He was one of the most fun college football players of his era thanks to the combination of his size and quarterbacking skills.

His best season came in 2002 when Kentucky won seven games. Lorenzen threw 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

14 PHOTOS
Jared Lorenzen throughout his football career
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Jared Lorenzen throughout his football career
LEXINGTON,KY - SEPTEMBER 27: Daryl Dixon #34 (bottom) Ray McDonald #96 of Florida take down quarterback Jared Lorenzen #22 of Kentucky on September 27, 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Florida won 24-21. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 27: Quarterback Jared Lorenzen #22 of Kentucky scrambles to make a play against Florida on September 27, 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Florida won 24-21. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON,KY - SEPTEMBER 27: Jared Lorenzen #22 of Kentucky runs with the ball while defended by Daryl Dixon #34 of Florida on September 27, 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Florida won 24-21. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 27: Quarterback Jared Lorenzen #22 of Kentucky celebrates a play against Florida on September 27, 2003 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Florida won 24-21. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
New York Giants quarterback Jared Lorenzen passses the ball during mini-camp as quarterbacks coach John Hufnagel, left, looks on Friday, May 6, 2005, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - 2005: Jared Lorenzen of the New York Giants poses for his 2005 NFL headshot at photo day in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 1: Quarterback Jared Lorenzen #12 of the New York Giants looks to throw during pre game practice before their pre season game against the New England Partriots at Gillette Stadium on September 1, 2005 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants defeated the Patriots 27-3.(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 1: Quarterback Jared Lorenzen #12 of the New York Giants runs with ball against the New England Partriots during their pre season game at Gillette Stadium on September 1, 2005 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants defeated the Patriots 27-3.(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Giants quarterback Jared Lorenzen blows a bubble gum bubble during an NFC wildcard game January 8, 2006 at the Meadowlands. The Carolina Panthers defeated the Giants 23 - 0. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Jared Lorenzen #12 of the New York Giants looks on against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on October 15, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Giants defeated the Falcons 27-14. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03: Quarterbacks Jared Lorenzen #13 and Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants warms up before Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03: Jared Lorenzen #13 and Brandon Jacobs #27 of the New York Giants celebrate beating the New England Patriots 17-14 during Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 09: Quarterback Jared Lorenzen #13 of the Indianapolis Colts jogs off the field during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on August, 9, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KY - OCTOBER 4: Former Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Jared Lorenzen talks with former wide receiver and current Green Bay Packers player Randall Cobb during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Commonwealth Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 45-38. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Lorenzen, who was listed at 260 pounds when he played at Kentucky, struggled with his weight after his playing career was over. He said he weighed over 500 pounds at one point after he hadn’t stepped on a scale in eight years after he was cut by the Colts. That inspired him to launch the Jared Lorenzen Project to help others lose weight. The video series documented his roller-coaster journey with weight loss.

A fantastic 2014 feature in ESPN The Magazine detailed the issues Lorenzen dealt with regarding his post-playing career size. In it, he said he was 303 pounds in his final season with the Colts and didn’t know how much he weighed when he moonlighted in an indoor football league not long before the story was written.

I ASK LORENZEN: Do you wonder whether you would've had a better career if you'd been in better shape? "Maybe I'd still be playing," he says. "But I don't know how much better it could be."

For four years, he starred in the SEC. For three more, he got to step onto the field as an NFL player. He was so thrilled just to be in the league that every time the Giants played in a stadium he'd never been to, he took a ball in warm-ups and fired it into the upper deck. He hoped somebody up there would remember him.

Lorenzen won a Super Bowl ring while serving as the backup quarterback to Eli Manning during the 2007 season. He appeared in four games in 2006 and 2007 for the Giants and was cut by the Colts after he signed with them ahead of the 2008 season.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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