Former defensive lineman Saousoalii “Junior” Siavii was found dead on Thursday afternoon, awaiting trial in a Kansas prison.
Siavii, 43, was found unresponsive at around 2:30 p.m. at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Anna Armijo, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, told The Kansas City Star.
On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons stated that the responding staff administered life-saving measures and emergency services for the ex-professional football player. NBC News reported that he was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
Armijo noted that staff and other inmates were not injured and “at no time was the public in danger,” as new details regarding Siavii’s death became available.
Siavii was arrested in August 2019 on suspicion of illegal firearms possession during an encounter with police in Kansas. According to NBC Sports, a federal indictment stated that the ex-NFL player was part of a methamphetamine drug trafficking conspiracy in Missouri, and he and eight co-defendants were charged.
Siavii was transported to the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, a medium-security prison, on Dec. 17, 2021, The Kansas City Star reported.
The FBI and the United States Marshals Service were informed about his death, the Bureau of Prisons said.
During his time in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Siavii in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft. He played two seasons with the team before he suffered knee injuries and forced him on a two-year hiatus from football. However, he returned with the Dallas Cowboys in 2009 and played all 16 games.
When the Cowboys cut the 43-year-old from preseason in 2010, he later signed with the Seahawks and played 14 games before a spinal cord injury ended his career in 2011.
He was born in American Samoa, where he attended high school before moving to the United States. Siavii played college football at the University of Oregon before his NFL career began.