Two rock climbers who were found dead near a Southern California peak have been identified as 33-year-old Chelsea Walsh and 31-year-old Gavin Escobar, a former NFL player. 

Rescuers responded to Tahquitz Rock in the San Bernardino National Forest around 12.30pm on Wednesday following a distress call, the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department said on Twitter.

A team then managed to climb into the steep, remote area and found both climbers dead at the scene, the department said.

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A small amount of rain fell in the area earlier in the day, but authorities have not immediately confirmed if weather was a factor in the deaths.

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Who was Gavin Escobar?

Gavin Escobar was a tight end, playing for the Dallas Cowboy in a backup role from 2013 to 2016.

He also had brief stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.

He ended his football career in 2019 with the now-defunct Alliance of American Football.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds, the 31-year-old had 30 receptions and eight touchdowns in his NFL career.

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Following his football career, Escobar became a firefighter in Long Beach. 

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the off-duty death of Long Beach Firefighter Gavin Escobar. Hired on February 5, 2022, Firefighter Escobar was assigned to Fire Station 3 on B-shift,” a post on social media from the department read. 

“Prior to being a Long Beach Firefighter, Gavin Escobar played professional football for the #NFL where he spent most of his time with the #DallasCowboys. Firefighter Escobar leaves behind his wife and two young children.”