In the history of American football, Rashaan Salaam was quite a force to reckon with and when his death occurred, many couldn’t really get the hang of it. Standing at more than 6ft tall, Salaam was an American professional football player best remembered as a running back in NFL during the 1990s when he played for the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns. He played the running back position, emerging as the youngest footballer in the NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards.
He has many trophies, milestones, and accolades under his belt including the 1994 Heisman Trophy; the ‘Sporting News Player of the Year’; the Doak Walker Award, and the Walter Camp Award; the title ‘NFC Rookie of the Year’ in 1995. The American football great was also inducted into the Colorado University’s Athletic Hall of Fame during his career.
Rashaan Salaam Wiki, Bio
The great American football player was born on October 8, 1974, in San Diego, California to former Cincinnati Bengals running back Teddy Washington later known as Sulton Salaam, after he converted to Islam. Thus, Sallam was raised as a Muslim.
Like most achievers, Salaam’s career started at an early stage. At La Jolla Country Day School in suburban San Diego, he played eight-man football, running for over 100 yards in every game except one. His outstanding performances were rewarded with a high school All-American recognition and he was later inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.
At the University of Colorado, Salaam played for the Colorado Buffaloes football team from 1992 to 1994. Here he experienced one of the best individual seasons in college football history, rushing for a school-record 2,055 yards. His junior years brought a lot of milestones as he also achieved 24 touchdowns and helped lead Colorado to an 11–1 record. This includes a 41–24 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl, and a No. 3 finish in the final Associated Press Poll. His team only lost once during the season to the Big Eight Conference rival Nebraska Cornhuskers, which finished undefeated and ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and United Press International polls at the season’s end.
Salaam was a unanimous first-team All-American and winner of the Heisman Trophy. He beat out running back Ki-Jana Carter of Penn State and quarterbacks Steve McNair of Alcorn State and Kerry Collins of Penn State to clinch the coveted title.
After Salaam was selected by the Chicago Bears in the first round, with the 21st overall selection of the 1995 NFL Draft, he played for the team from 1995 to 1997. During his early stage, he rushed for 1,074 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. However, due to injuries, fumbles and substance abuse, he spent only three years with the Bears. As a result, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins before the 1998 season, a trade that was undone after Salaam failed a physical examination. In 1999, he spent time with the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers but only played in two games.
A Dwindling Career
After briefly playing in the XFL for the Memphis Maniax in 2001, Salaam only managed to finish the year with 528 yards gained before injury cut his season short, and the league folded after one season. Another attempt at an NFL career in 2002 also proved abortive for Salaam following a much-publicized training at the Cris Carter Speed School. After all the hype, he was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers in 2003 but in August the same year, he was subsequently let go in the second-to-last round of cuts.
Similarly, Salaam was signed by the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in 2004 but was suspended by the Argos in May. This marked the end of his career.
Rashaan Salaam Wife, Children, Family, Was He Gay?
Salaam is survived by his parents – Sulton Salaam, his father who was also a professional American football player, his mother Khalada Salaam-Alaji, and his siblings, Jabali Alaji and Atiya Henry. He was never married and once told the Chicago Tribune that he was a bachelor for life. He also didn’t have any children until his death.
Seemingly, he never had any plans to tie the knots. Instead, he focused on his career and used his spare time to run a camp for young and aspiring athletes in San Diego, acting as their mentor. Nevertheless, Salaam had a girlfriend, Shelly Martins who was devasted by his sudden death.
Being single for a long time can spark speculation about someone’s sexuality. Notwithstanding, there’s no confirmation that Salaam is gay. Apparently, he just didn’t fancy the idea of marriage.
Cause Of Death – How did Rashaan Salaam Die?
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse in 2016, terrible news about Rashaan Salaam sent shockwaves through the world. The American football player was found dead on December 5, 2016, in a park in Boulder, Colorado. A note beside his body made it look like a possible suicide, thus an autopsy was performed by authorities.
It was later concluded on December 29 that he committed suicide through a gunshot wound to the head. According to a report released by The Boulder County Coroner’s Office, Salaam’s blood-alcohol content was three times the legal driving limit and he had THC in his system. Till date, his family and friends are yet to come to terms with the fact that he took his own life.