Former NFL player and Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam was found dead in a park in Boulder, Colorado. There was no evidence that foul play was involved. Salaam started his football career in Colorado, where he won the Heisman trophy as a junior.
In 1994, he declared for the NFL draft. The Chicago Bears drafted him 21st and he was a huge part of their success. His freshman year in the NFL, he rushed for 1,074 in 16 games and became the youngest player to rush for over 1,000 yards. He stayed with the Bears for three seasons, but he was plagued by injuries. In 1999 he played two games for the Browns, but he could not stay healthy. Salaam played in the XFL and attempted a comeback with the 49ers in 2003.
“He was very coachable,” Bill McCartney, Salaam’s coach with the Buffaloes, said in a statement. “He had a happy heart. I loved being around him. He didn’t take himself too seriously, and he always credited those around him, especially his offensive line. What I liked about him is that he had a sparkle in his eye. He was upbeat and positive.”
Rashaan Salaam was the definition of defining the odds. During his time in the NFL, he had a heavy drug addiction. With the support of family and friends, he kicked the habit and spoke about his dark times to others. He used his trials as motivation for others.
Players, as well as his family, said that he was a team player and he wanted to help anyone that he could.
Denver Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell, who was Salaam’s teammate had some a few comments to say about him.
“Rashaan was as dynamic off the field as he was on the field as a player. He was a fiercely loyal friend, someone who was always in your corner and had your back. He was the ultimate teammate and supportive of everyone in his locker room. If there was ever a guy who was going to get a personal foul for protecting someone on his team, Rashaan was that guy.”
Details have not been released on what caused his death.