Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes (54) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (6) during their NFL football game in Tampa, Florida December 26, 2010. REUTERS/Pierre DuCharme

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Former NFL LB Geno Hayes passes away at 33

Former NFL linebacker Geno Hayes passed away Monday due to complications from a liver-related issue.

Hayes, who battled liver disease for two years, had been placed in hospice care last week at his parents’ home in Valdosta, Ga.

Hayes told ESPN earlier this year that he had been placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant, and that he believed his use of over-the-counter pain medications during his NFL career contributed to his condition.

“It’s one of those things where you have to make sure you tell them you love them,” Hayes’ high school coach in Florida, Frankie Carroll, told the Tallahassee Democrat.

Hayes played three seasons (2005-07) at Florida State and had 80 tackles and 5.0 sacks during his junior season. After being named first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in 2007, Hayes declared for the NFL draft.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him in the sixth round in 2008. Hayes played four seasons with the Bucs, followed by stints with the Chicago Bears (2012) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-14).

His best season came in 2009, when he had 98 tackles (15 for loss), three sacks, 12 quarterback hits, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 15 games (13 starts).

He had 401 tackles and 10 sacks in 101 career NFL games (70 starts).

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