Former first-round pick, Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam found dead at 42

Getty Images/Jed Jacobsohn

Former NFL running back Rashaan Salaam has died, the University of Colorado announced Tuesday. He was 42. 

Salaam was found dead in a park in Boulder, Colo., on Monday night, the school said. There were no signs of foul play. 

Salaam starred at Colorado for three seasons, winning the Heisman trophy as a junior in 1994. He then declared for the NFL draft and was selected 21st by the Chicago Bears. 

He rushed for 1,074 yards in 16 games as a rookie—the youngest player ever to rush for 1,000 yards—but was let go by the Bears in 1997, after three injury-plagued seasons. He played two games with the Browns in 1999 but only had one carry. Salaam played in the XFL during the league’s only season and attempted an NFL 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.”

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