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Shane Dronett (January 12, 1971 – January 21, 2009) was an American football defensive lineman, who played for the NFL's Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons between 1992 and 2002.

Shane Dronett
No. 99, 75
Position:Defensive lineman
Personal information
Born:(1971-01-12)January 12, 1971
Orange, Texas
Died:January 21, 2009(2009-01-21) (aged 38)
Duluth, Georgia
Career information
High school:Bridge City (Bridge City, Texas)
NFL Draft:1992 / Round: 2 / Pick: 54
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at


Early yearsEdit

Shane Dronett was born in Orange, Texas, and graduated from Bridge City High School in Bridge City, Texas in 1989. He attended the University of Texas at Austin on a football scholarship and in 1991 he was named an All-American.[1]

Professional careerEdit

In the 1992 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected Dronett in the second round. He remained with the Broncos for four seasons, playing all 16 games in his first year. Dronett played for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions in 1996, playing 12 games total (5 for the Falcons, 7 for the Lions.) [2]

The Lions released Dronett at the end of the 1996 season, and he was rehired by the Falcons, who had just hired as their new head coach Dan Reeves, who had originally drafted Dronett to play for the Broncos. Dronett played a significant role in the Falcons' defense, which ranked second in the NFL against the run, allowing only 75.2 rushing yards per game, and produced 313 tackles, 29.5 sacks, and 13 forced fumbles (11 recovered). When the Falcons won the NFC Championship in 1998, Dronett played in Super Bowl XXXIII against the Denver Broncos.[2]

In January 2000, Dronett signed a five-year contract worth $20 million.[3] In September, Dronett suffered a torn ACL when sacking the Carolina Panthers quarterback.

Dronett suffered several other injuries, including knee and shoulder problems, over the next two seasons that limited his ability to play.[4] He was released by the Falcons in 2003.[2]


After his playing career, Dronett began to exhibit paranoia, confusion, fear, and rage. According to his family, Dronett's behavior changed radically. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 2007. Its removal did not alleviate Dronett's symptoms.[5]

Dronett confronted his wife with a gun on January 21, 2009. As she ran for safety, he turned the gun on himself.[2][5] His death was ruled a suicide by the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's office.[6]

After his death, Dronett's brain was tested at Boston University School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Scientists determined that Dronett suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease associated with repeated head trauma. According to the co-director of the Center, Dr. Robert Stern, linemen are estimated to hit their heads about 1,000 times in each season they play. While those hits may not result in concussions, the repetitive lesser brain injuries are likely associated with the disease.[5]

He left a wife, Chris, and two daughters, Berkley and Hayley.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Wade, Van (January 21, 2009), "Dronett, former BC great, NFL standout, passes away at 38", The Orange Leader, Orange, Texas
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-02-17. Retrieved 2006-12-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "". CNN.
  5. ^ a b c Smith, Stephanie (April 1, 2011), Ex-Falcons lineman had brain disease linked to concussions, CNN
  6. ^ Former Falcon Dronett's Death Ruled a Suicide Kansas City Star, January 22, 2009

External linksEdit