Clint Linthicum

Rocky's Clint Linthicum runs the ball during a game against Montana Western in 2013. Linthicum died June 10.

BILLINGS — Two former Rocky Mountain College football players died just five days apart, which has left the program and ex-teammates expressing sadness and regret about what they called “a rough week.”

Clint Linthicum Jr., 32, died of undisclosed causes in Billings on June 10. Fletcher Metcalf, 25, perished in a rollover crash Monday in Big Horn County. Both played for the Battlin’ Bears under former head coach Brian Armstrong.

Linthicum, a graduate of Poplar High School, played running back at Rocky, with his most productive seasons coming in 2012 and 2013. He rushed for a combined 530 yards and five touchdowns. In high school, Linthicum was selected to the Class B All-Star Game.

Metcalf played three games for the Battlin’ Bears in 2014 as a freshman out of Hardin High School, making three total tackles.

Tucker Meyer, a Fairfield product and former teammate of both Linthicum and Metcalf at Rocky, joined the program at the same time as Metcalf in 2013.

“Fletcher was an amazing person,” said Meyer, who is now a graduate assistant coach under Mike Leach at Mississippi State. “He would have done anything for anybody, and I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say he’ll be missed by everybody that he met.”

Meyer, a cornerback, played as a true freshman when Linthicum was a senior in 2013, a year in which the team qualified for the NAIA playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade and a half.

Linthicum rushed for 316 yards and three touchdowns that season in a predominately passing offense.

“Clint kept to himself, but when he spoke it was something that needed to be heard,” Meyer said. “Clint worked hard. Hard-working guys that put their nose to the ground like Clint were the reason we went to the playoffs.”

On June 12, Rocky football posted a photo of Linthicum on its Twitter page and included the message, “RIP to Rocky Football Alum #27 Clint Linthicum. Always a Bear!”

Rocky football tweeted a photo of several former players five days later to commemorate Metcalf, writing, “RIP to former Rocky Football Player Fletcher Metcalf. Always a Bear! Please keep his family in your thoughts.”

Joe Bartlett, whose Rocky career also overlapped with both Linthicum and Metcalf, echoed Meyer’s sentiments over his former teammates’ deaths.

Bartlett, a senior in 2015, said Linthicum was “definitely a dude that a lot of players looked up to and respected. He was kind of the epitome of a Battlin’ Bear. Right time, right place, doing the right thing, did his job. If you were looking for an example to follow, look no further than that guy.”

Bartlett was a couple years older than Metcalf, but said the young Hardin product stood out during his time on the field.

“He had a lot of enthusiasm,” said Bartlett, who is now a defensive coach at Polson High School. “There were probably guys that worked as hard as Fletcher, but nobody worked harder. A high-energy guy. A fearless player.”

Meyer and Bartlett said the Rocky program has been stung by the losses of both Linthicum and Metcalf.

“Rocky Mountain College football is definitely a brotherhood going years and years back,” Meyer said. “Anytime a brotherhood loses two of its members, that’s definitely not an easy thing. It will be felt.”

“You’re going to stay family forever, honestly, if you played football at Rocky,” Bartlett said. “This has definitely been felt through the community of Rocky football. It was definitely a rough week.”

Email Greg Rachac at Greg.Rachac@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @gregrachac

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