Born: Jan. 12, 1971 in Orange, Texas
Died: Jan. 21, 2009
Shane Dronett attended high school in Bridge City. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos out of the University of Texas in the second round of 1992 NFL draft. In 1992, Dronett recovered two fumbles for minus five yards. He played for 16 games his rookie season and had 6.5 sacks.
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.) 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 N.F.C. Championship in 1998, Dronet played in Super Bowl XXXIII against the Denver Broncos.
In January 2000, Dronett signed a five-year contract worth $20 million. 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. He was released by the Falcons in 2003.
Dronett committed suicide in 2009 and doctors discovered that he 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.