Texans' Cal McNair on Jamey Rootes' death: "It's a sad day here'

Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair, with his wife, Hannah McNair, standing next to him Tuesday morning, offered his remembrances and provided condolences to the family of former team president Jamey Rootes.

Rootes died Sunday, his wife, Melissa Rootes, announced on Facebook,citing a battle with mental health issues.

Rootes was the first team president of the Texans and a former CEO of the Dynamo and the Dash.

He was 56 years old.

"It's a sad day for us here at the Texans," Cal McNair said. "We're really heartbroken with the loss of our friend Jamey Rootes, a 20-year-old friendship. Jamey led the Houston Texans business department at a very high level for two decades. He was also really involved in Houston and giving back. One of his favorites was the United Way. So, he will be missed by his Texans family. He will be missed by the Houston community. Our sincere condolences go to his family, his wife, Melissa, his kids as we all work through a difficult time."

Rootes had recently been named to Rice University's sports management department working with a new sports analytics program.

He worked on faculties with the kinesiology departments at the University of Houston and Sam Houston State.

Rootes was one of the late Bob McNair's first hires. 

Texans team president Greg Grissom, who worked with Rootes for several years, expressed his feelings about the passing of a well-respected former sports executive.

"Hurting teammates that have had the honor of working with Jamey for 20-plus years, we're all hurting," Rootes said. "We send our condolences to his wife, Melissa, and family. We have more than 100 teammates over there that have worked with him for more than 20 years. We're just making sure we provide the resources to them to grieve and to express themselves in any way possible. We just want to make sure we pay our respects to the impact he had on our lives personally and our organization just as a whole.

"It's obviously a tough situation. Completely unexpected, very very sad. We're sticking together as Texans teammates, holding each other up and doing the best we can."

A former Clemson soccer player who worked as a general manager for MLS' the Columbus Crew, Rootes was hired as the first team president in franchise history. Under Rootes' direction, the Texans raised nearly $40 million through their charitable foundation. He was a co-chair of the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund and helped direct the Texans' philanthropic efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"Our family is heartbroken to confirm that after a battle with mental health issues, Jamey Rootes passed away on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022 in Houston, Texans," Melissa Rootes wrote on social media. "Jamey was best known for his devotion to his family and friends, but was also former president of the Houston Texans, retiring in 2021. 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. If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, or experiencing a health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now at 1-800-273-8255."

The Texans issued a statement Monday night after Melissa Rootes' announcement of her husband's death.

"We are heartbroken to learn that former Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes has passed away," Texans co-founder Janice McNair, Cal McNair and Texans foundation vice president Hannah McNair said in a statement. "For two decades, Jamey Rootes 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 are with Jamey's wife, Melissa, and their two children during his extremely difficult time."

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter, and a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

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