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Rashaan Salaam dead at 42

Salaam won the 1994 Heisman and spent his first three NFL seasons on the Bears. No cause of death has been announced.

Rashaan Salaam

Per the University of Colorado, 1994 Heisman Trophy winner and ex-Bears running back Rashaan Salaam was found dead Monday night at the age of 42. According to the CU press release, Boulder Police said there were no signs of foul play.

From CU athletic director Rick George:

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

The Bears selected Salaam 21st overall in the 1995 draft. He played three seasons in Chicago — his rookie year was an up-and-down affair as he racked up over 1,000 yards rushing, with 10 touchdowns on the ground, while also fumbling nine times.

Salaam rushed for 100 yards in five games his rookie year, tying a Bears rookie record set in 1934 by Beattie Feathers, and since tied on Sunday by Jordan Howard. His 1,074 yards rushing in 1995 was a Bears record, since eclipsed by Matt Forte and Anthony Thomas.

Salaam last played in the NFL in 1999 with the Cleveland Browns. He finished his NFL career with 1,684 yards on 471 carries with 13 rushing touchdowns.

I will have a full reaction column tomorrow on Salaam’s passing (UPDATE: here it is), but for now I recommend this interview with Fred Mitchell from 2012.

3:13 p.m. UPDATE: The Daily Camera in Boulder reports that Boulder police are investigating Salaam’s death as a possible suicide. His body was found last night in a Boulder park.