Before news broke of Mike Leach's passing, New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones began his postgame press conference offering prayers to the Mississippi State head football coach and his loved ones.
"First, I want to make an opening statement. I want to send my thoughts and prayers to Coach Leach and his family," Jones said, following a victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.
"He offered me a scholarship at Washington State. I didn't meet him, but we talked over the phone. I'm just praying for his family with everything going on."
By that point publicly, the legendary college football coach was in critical condition at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Leach passed away that night due to complications from a heart condition, the school announced on Tuesday morning. He was 61 years old.
Leach was named the 34th coach in Bulldogs program history in 2020 after lengthy stays at Texas Tech and Washington State.
"I want to take a second and offer our thoughts and prayers for Coach Leach's family," said Patriots offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach Joe Judge via Zoom on Tuesday.
"I got to know Coach through the coaching business and connections through my alma mater. Great coach and a better person, so I feel really bad for his family and the players right now, so I just want to think about those guys for a second."
During his time with the Cougars, Leach was named the 2018 AFCA national coach of the year. He also coached Daniel Ekuale, who the Patriots signed as an undrafted free agent that spring.
"R.I.P. Coach Leach!" Ekuale tweeted on Tuesday. "Appreciate you for giving me an opportunity at the college level! Condolences out to his family!"
Ekuale re-shared tributes to Leach across his social media platforms in the aftermath, as did a few teammates. Even for those who didn't know him personally, Leach leaves a large legacy for the sport and anyone who enjoyed a good rant.