Investigation underway in death of Heisman Trophy winner, Rashaan Salaam

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Authorities Tuesday were investigating the death of Rashaan Salaam, the La Jolla Country Day School alumnus who went on to earn a Heisman Trophy and enjoy a short stint in the National Football League.

Salaam, 42, was identified as a person found dead shortly before 9 p.m. Monday in Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder, Colorado. Police said there was no sign of foul play.

Salaam’s death was reported on the athletics website of Colorado University, where Salaam won the Heisman as college football’s top player in 1994.

"The Buff Family has lost an outstanding young man and a great Buff today," Athletic Director Rick George said. "We are heartbroken for Rashaan and his family and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very difficult time.”

Salaam ran for 2,055 yards in leading the 1994 Buffaloes to an 11-1 record and No. 3 national ranking. He was just the fourth college running back to top 2,000 yards.

"He was very coachable," said Bill McCartney, the Buffaloes’ head coach at the time.

"He had a happy heart. I loved being around him,” McCartney said. "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.”

Salaam, who was living in Superior, Colorado, was inducted into CU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012 and was on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame for the first time in 2014.

Just how good Salaam would turn out to be was uncertain when he went to Boulder, because he played eight-man high school football for the Torreys, and he faced overmatched opponents on a weekly basis.

In San Diego, La Jolla Country Day football coach Tyler Hales tweeted: "This is a really sad day for LJCDS and @TORREYFOOTBALL @TorreyAthletics
@torreyus. Our heart goes out to his family…”

Salaam had a strong rookie campaign with the Chicago Bears, running for more than 1,000 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns, but lasted just three more seasons in the NFL.

There was no immediate word on funeral services.

Categories: Local San Diego News