Tributes have been paid to Jamey Rootes, the first team president of the NFL team, the Houston Texans, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 56.
Rootes was team president from the 2002 season through to 2020 and resigned from that position in February 2021. In that role, he oversaw administrative and business matters for the organization.
His wife announced Rootes’ death in a Facebook post on Monday.
“Our family is heartbroken to confirm that after a battle with mental health issues, Jamey Rootes passed away on Sunday, August 21, 2022 in Houston, Texas,” Melissa Wildgen Rootes wrote.
“Jamey was best known for his devotion to his family and friends but was also former President of the Houston Texans, retiring in 2021,” she said.
“Jamey was a dedicated Houstonian who loved his city and touched so many lives through his professional, academic and philanthropic work. Our family is requesting privacy and will not be responding to media inquiries. The details of a celebration of Jamey’s life will be announced at a later date,” said Wildgen Rootes.
“If you or a loved are thinking about suicide, or experiencing a health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now at 1-800-273-8255,” she wrote.
The Texans had 185 straight sellouts during Rootes tenure, according to an NFL statement.
During his time with the team, Rootes oversaw the Houston Texans Foundation, which has raised more than $41 million for charity since it was established, according to the NFL statement.
Rootes was hired by Bob McNair, the late owner of the Houston Texans, in 2002. McNair’s wife Janice, son Cal and daughter-in-law Hannah issued a joint official statement from the Houston Texans.
“We are heartbroken to learn that former Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes has passed away,” they said.
“For two decades, Jamey led our business operations with an unwavering commitment to Houston and the Houston Texans. We are grateful for his steadfast leadership and immeasurable contributions to our team. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Jamey’s wife, Melissa, and their two children during this extremely difficult time,” the statement said.
Many took to social media to offer their condolences on Rootes’ passing and to pay tribute to him.
John P. Lopez, host of In The Loop on SportsRadio 610, wrote: “My best memories of Jamey Rootes have nothing to do with football or the Texans. He was a fine person whose love for his family shined.”
“I will miss him. We all will, even if you never met him. His legacy and impact is as strong as anyone in the organization. RIP, my friend,” Lopez said.
“Jamey Rootes had so many fans and friends,” tweeted retired Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain. “I feel terrible for Melissa and his children and his other family members. Such a tragedy! Rest In Peace, Jamey. Hopefully, you’ll see Bob McNair again soon.”
Justin Reid, who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, wrote: “So sad to hear the news about Jamey Rootes. Was a great man and was always positive around the building. Prayers for his family.”
Greg Bailey, a journalist with the sports department of Houston’s KTKR, wrote: “I’ve been on the news set all night. Just terrible news about the passing of Jamey Rootes. Tireless and forever energetic about the Texans and the city of Houston. Prayers and support to his family and everyone who loved him.”
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text “988” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.