– Kirton who was recently traded from Arizona to San Jose was found dead in his San Jose home on Sunday. Kirton began the season with the Rattlers after a record breaking year in Chicago with the Rush in 2011. Kirton played on both sides of the ball & was an AFL Ironman of the Year Finalist in 2011.
Kirton was equally known for his efforts off the field. Johnie was deeply involved & dedicated to working with children in the community. He was recently featured in a piece by a phoenix area newspaper for his time that he gives to children.
While he was with the Rattlers, Kirton spent time at five different Kyrene schools as an employee of the after-school program, called Road Crew, where he taught life skills to elementary school students. He combined his knowledge of the game with his life experiences to be a great role model. Johnie was seen as a celebrity figure in the eyes of the kids. He grew up as the oldest of nine children. He was a natural leader, with the ability to relate to kids. Kirton attended the University of Washington before he was drafted by the Rattlers in 2010.
“We are in shock around here,” Said Head Coach Kevin Guy. “Johnie was a great young man that had a lot to offer, it’s always difficult in times like these. Our collective prayers are with Johnie’s family.” Johnie was 26 years old and leaves behind a two year old daughter, the mother of his child & extended family members across the country. The collective thoughts and prayers of the entire Arizona Rattlers franchise is with the Kirton family at this time.