Body of ex-NFL player James Hardy found in Indiana river

A 2011 photo of James Hardy of the Baltimore Ravens NFL football team. (AP Photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — An autopsy conducted by the Allen County coroner’s office has confirmed the identity of a body found in the Maumee River on Wednesday as that of James W. Hardy, 31, of Fort Wayne.

The coroner’s office was unable to determine Hardy’s cause and manner of death. NewsChannel 15 has confirmed his family reported him missing to police on May 30.

Police and fire rescue crews were called to the Maumee River at the Hosey Dam on Wednesday on a report of a possible body in the water there. Michael Joyner, Fort Wayne Police Department public information officer, said an employee with the city’s water-filtration plant conducting his regular rounds made the discovery as he walked along the catwalk and called police.

Hardy was a former multisport standout at Elmhurst High School and runner-up for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball. He ended his career as one of the most prolific scorers in Fort Wayne high school basketball history with only Deshaun Thomas and Bryson Scott having tallied more points.

He graduated in 2004 and then went on to play football and basketball at Indiana University. During his time at IU he quit basketball to focus his efforts on football. He owns IU receiving records for career receptions, yards and touchdowns.

Hardy was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2008 after entering the draft following his junior year. He also played for the Baltimore Ravens before being released in 2011.

While at Elmhurst, he was part of a football team that had the longest losing streak in state history. However, the team snapped that streak in part due to Hardy’s tremendous talent.

TMZ reported in May 2014 that Hardy was arrested after attacking three officers. A judge ruled that he was not mentally competent to stand trial in a case where he faced a felony charge for resisting arrest during the incident. It’s not known how that judicial process played out.

NewsChannel 15’s Alyssa Ivanson and Glenn Marini are working to confirm more information regarding Hardy’s post-NFL life including when he moved back to Fort Wayne.

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