Former Heisman Winner Rashaan Salaam Found Dead in Colorado Park

Rashaan Salaam was found dead in a park and police are investigating it as a possible suicide. He was 42 years old.
December 6, 2016, 10:20pm

The body of former University of Colorado and Chicago Bears running back Rashaan Salaam was found dead in Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder, Colorado Monday evening. The 1994 Heisman Trophy winner was 42 years old.

A passerby visiting the park discovered the body and called police at approximately 8:54 p.m. Monday. Salaam was pronounced dead at the scene.

Earlier Tuesday, Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly said that while the investigation into the death was still ongoing, there were no signs of foul play and there was no threat to the community.

Police would not specify if the body was found in a car, or somewhere in the park itself.

Salaam played three seasons at Colorado, winning the Heisman in his final year, before being drafted 21st overall by the Chicago Bears in the 1995 NFL draft. He became the youngest player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards when he amassed 1,074 yards in his rookie season, at the age of 21. Salaam only spent three years in Chicago, however, as fumbles and a broken leg derailed his 1997 season. Following the injury, Salaam said he became addicted to marijuana and entered a rehab program, something he told the Bears before the 1998 season, but they cut him soon thereafter. He signed with the Raiders in 1999 but was later cut before trying to catch on with the Cleveland Browns. He played two games in Cleveland, was cut again, and then spent time on the Green Bay Packers squad before joining the XFL.

Salaam's former coach at Colorado, Bill McCartney said "he was very coachable," in a statement released by the school.

"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."

According to Boulder's Daily Camera, the death is being investigated as a suicide.

Update 6:27 p.m.: USA Today spoke with Salaam's mother, Khalada and she said the police told her that they were investigating the death as a suicide because they found a note:

"They said they found a note and would share that with us when we get there," Salaam's mother said.

"It's just a big trip. That's all I can say," Salaam's mother said. "We just found out this morning, and we're going to Colorado to take care of him."