Colorado Heisman Trophy Winner Rashaan Salaam Dies At Age Of 42

Ford Springer | Contributor

Colorado Buffaloes Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam was found dead in a park in Boulder, Colorado, Monday night. Boulder police said there was no signs of foul play related to the 42-year-old’s death, according to the school website.

Salaam led the Buffaloes to one of their best seasons in school history in 1994, finishing with an 11-1 record and a No. 3 spot in the final college football rankings.

COLORADO RUNNING BACK RASHAAN SALAAM WITH THE HEISMAN TROPHY AFTER BEING NAMED AS THE 60TH WINNER OF THE AWARD AT THE DOWNTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB IN NEW YORK CITY NEW YORK. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

The former Colorado great rushed for 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns that season making him a “runaway winner” in the 1994 Heisman race as a junior. Salaam broke a number of school records that season and won the Doak Walker Award, given the nation’s top running back.

The Colorado standout entered the NFL draft after that season and was drafted 21st overall by the Chicago Bears. His success continued when he rushed for 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns earning him NFC Rookie of the Year honors in 1995. His NFL career came to an unfortunate end after being plagued by ankle and knee injuries.

Salaam also admitted, in 1999, “that marijuana use contributed to his problems in Chicago,” according to ESPN. “It probably had me out there lackadaisical instead of going out there 100 percent,” he told ESPN in an interview then.

“Everybody thinks getting high is cool, you can let it go when you want to let it go,” Salaam said. “But it’s just as potent as cocaine.”

Running back Rashaan Salaam #31 of the Chicago Bears tries to run around Brian Williams #51 of the Green Bay Packers during the Bears 38-24 loss at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport Getty Images)

The running back broke his leg early in his 1997 season, “and said that injury increased his addiction.” His bounced around the NFL on several different teams and practice squads before his career in football fizzled out.

“This is a sad day for the entire university community as we mourn Rashaan’s death,” CU Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said in a statement Tuesday. “Rashaan will be remembered as one of the greatest football players to ever wear a Buffs uniform, and his 1994 Heisman Trophy brought great prestige and honor to the university. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Ford Springer

Contributor

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