Former Chicago Bears running back Rashaan Salaam has been pronounced dead at the age of 42 after his body was found in the parking lot of a park in Boulder, Colorado on Monday.
Foul play has not been ruled the cause of death, but the local newspaper in Boulder reported that his passing was likely a suicide. After a scheduled autopsy has been performed, the cause of death should more clear.
Known more for being one of the biggest busts in the history of the NFL Draft, Salaam spent three seasons with the Bears and one with the Cleveland Browns from 1995 to 1999.
A native of San Diego, CA, he played his college ball at the University of Colorado from 1992 to 1994. His efforts in the 1994 season led him to being named that year’s winner of the Heisman Trophy.
After being selected by Chicago with the 21st overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft, he experienced some professional success as a rookie after he ran for 1,074 yards and scored 10 touchdowns during his first season in the league.
Following his rookie year, Salaam only managed to gain 610 rushing yards and three touchdowns over the next three seasons of his career.
In 2001, he ended up with the XFL’s Memphis Maniax and ended the league’s only year as its fourth leading rusher. He attempted to make an NFL comeback in 2003 with the San Francisco 49ers but he was unable to make it onto the team’s regular season roster.
In regard to his lack of success at the professional level, the former running back was pretty sure he knew why it did not work out.
I had no discipline. I had all the talent in the world. You know, great body, great genes. But I had no work ethic and I had no discipline. The better you get, the harder you have to work. The better I got, the lazier I got.
After his football career had come to an end, Salaam spent a good amount of his time mentoring the youth and most recently in the Boulder community.
He had admitted in the past to constant partying and a marijuana addiction contributing to his struggles to succeed in the NFL. Unfortunately, his old habits may have also been the result of his sudden passing on Monday.