Ex-NFL defensive lineman Junior Siavii found dead in prison as he awaited trial

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Former NFL defensive lineman Saousoalii “Junior” Siavii died Thursday in a Leavenworth prison, the Kansas City Star reports. Siavii was 43.

The cause of death was not released.

Siavii was transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, a medium-security prison, on Dec. 17. He was awaiting trial on federal criminal charges related to drug trafficking and illegal firearm possession.

Siavii was arrested in August 2019 on suspicion of illegal firearms possession during a struggle with police in Kansas. A criminal indictment later named Siavii as part of a methamphetamine drug trafficking conspiracy in Missouri, and he and eight co-defendants were charged.

The Chiefs selected Siavii in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft. He played two seasons with the team before knee injuries forced him out of football for two years. Siavii made a comeback with the Cowboys in 2009 and played all 16 games.

The Cowboys cut Siavii out of the preseason in 2010, and he signed with the Seahawks and played 14 games before a spinal cord injury ended his career.