Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes (54) has been battling liver disease over the past two years. File Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI | License Photo
April 22 (UPI) -- Former Florida State Seminoles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes is in hospice care at his parents' home in Georgia due to liver complications, his former high school football coach said Thursday.
Hayes, 33, told ESPN before being hospitalized last month that he had been placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic and Northwestern Medicine in December.
The former linebacker has been hospitalized more than 20 times in the past year because of liver disease, which he was diagnosed with two years ago.
"Geno's in need of prayers. He's fighting for his life," Frankie Carroll, Hayes' former high school coach, told the Tallahassee Democrat. "It's tough. Geno's a fun-loving guy."
Hayes, who played for the Buccaneers from 2008-11, was diagnosed with the liver condition while being treated for an unrelated medical issue.
He believes the use of non-prescription pain medications during his playing career is what caused the condition, along with a family history of liver disease.
"The first diagnosis they gave me was alcoholic cirrhosis," Hayes previously said to ESPN. "But when we dug in deeper, it became just chronic liver disease, because I don't drink like that. If I did drink, it was just like wine or something like that. But my body is made different. And that's what [my doctor] said, 'Everybody's made different.'"
Hayes, a sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft, also played for the Chicago Bears (2012) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-14). He recorded 401 total tackles, 10 sacks, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, six interceptions and 21 passes defensed in 101 career NFL games.