Former college gridiron star Salaam dies at 42
LOS ANGELES: Rashaan Salaam, a former Heisman Trophy winner as America’s top college football player, has died at the age of 42, the University of Colorado said Tuesday. The university released a statement saying Salaam’s body was found in a park in Boulder, Colorado on Monday night, and that police do not suspect foul play. “We are heartbroken for Rashaan and his family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very difficult time,” athletic director Rick George told the university’s website. The Chicago Bears, one of the teams Salaam played for in an abortive NFL career, also acknowledged Salaam. “Our thoughts are with his family,” the Bears posted on their website. Salaam won the Heisman Trophy in 1994. The running back was drafted by the Bears in 1995 and enjoyed a strong rookie season. But his NFL career unravelled with Salaam admitting that marijuana use played a role. Salaam broke his leg during the 1997 season and entered a rehabilitation program the following year. But he remained out of football until signing as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders in 1999. After a short stay with the Raiders he briefly played for the Cleveland Browns, before trying his luck with the XFL’s Memphis Maniax and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts.