An employee with Fort Wayne's water filtration plant conducting regular rounds discovered the body and notified authorities. The Allen County coroner's office announced today that they identified the body as being James Hardy.
A Fort Wayne native who went on to earn three All-Big Ten Conference honors at IN and play on the Hoosiers basketball team, Hardy was taken No. 41 overall IN the 2008 National Football League draft.
Hardy was 31 years old.
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By the time he left IN after three seasons, Hardy had set the Hoosiers records for receptions (186), receiving yards (2,690), and touchdown receptions (36). His career faded quickly after that, and he appeared in just two more games after his rookie year.
I got to know James when he played at IU and a little bit after when I interviewed him for a book I wrote about former IU football coach Terry Hoeppner. In 2014, he was arrested in Los Angeles for resisting arrest following a confrontation with Los Angeles Police Department officers, two of whom suffered minor injuries.
There is no information about Hardy having a girlfriend around the time of his death.
Hardy was a former multi-sport standout at Elmhurst High School. While his time in the pros may not have shown huge numbers, there is a very good reason he was sought after by the Bills in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He loved to play football and basketball and was special at both. He also played for Baltimore before being released in 2011.