**UPDATE: Salaam’s mother, Khalada, told USA Today Sports that police suspect Salaam’s death is a suicide due to finding a note on the scene.
Former NFL running back, and University of Colorado Buffalo Rashaan Salaam has died at the age of 42. The university made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.
Salaam was found dead in a park in Boulder, Colorado on Monday night. Boulder Police found no evidence of foul play at the scene.
Salaam gained national notoriety during his college career, where he rushed for over 3,000 yards in three seasons with the Buffaloes. Salaam eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark and scored 24 touchdowns in 1994, his final year at Colorado. At the time Salaam was only the fourth player in college history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season. That performance won him the Heisman Trophy for that year.
In 1995 the Chicago Bears selected Salaam in the first round of the NFL draft. Salaam became the youngest runner in NFL history to reach the 1000-yard mark. Salaam ran for 1,074 yards in his rookie season.
Sadly though, Salaam could not build on that success. The former Heisman winner battled injuries over the next three seasons, resulting in his release by the Bears in 1997. Salaam attempted a comeback with the Browns in 1999 but carried the ball only once in two games.
Former Colorado Coach Bill McCartney spoke about the passing of his former player on the university website. McCartney said, “He was very coachable. 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.”
Salaam was inducted into the University of Colorado’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn