Relatives, ex-teammates and coaches remembered Cullen Finnerty during a funeral Tuesday for the former Grand Valley State University star quarterback whose body was discovered last month in woods in western Michigan.
”God must have had a bad season last year. Because he took you as the No. 1 draft pick this year,” older brother, Tim, said during a Mass at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Livingston County’s Brighton Township, northwest of Detroit.
Authorities found no obvious signs of trauma and have yet to determine a cause of death for the 30-year-old, who was with his relatives on a holiday weekend at a cottage in Lake County’s Webber Township. He disappeared May 26 while fishing a river separately from other relatives.
His body was found days later, about 65 miles north of Grand Rapids during a search by dozens of people including former teammates, coaches and current players from the school in Allendale.
Finnerty, a star at Brighton High School, was one of the most successful quarterbacks in college football history. He led Division II Grand Valley to more than 50 victories and three national titles, the last in 2006.
”Cullen Finnerty changed the university. Not many people do that,” said Chuck Martin, who coached Finnerty at Grand Valley and is now Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator.
A Grand Valley State helmet and jersey were laid on Finnerty’s casket.
After college, Finnerty briefly was a member of the Baltimore Ravens and later the Denver Broncos but never got a snap.
He is survived by his wife, Jennifer; son, Caden; and daughter, Makinley.