Rashaan Salaam

Rashaan Iman Salaam (October 8, 1974 – December 5, 2016) was an American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons during the 1990s. Salaam played college football for the University of Colorado and won the 1994 Heisman Trophy. He was picked by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Bears and Cleveland Browns of the NFL. Salaam died by suicide on December 5, 2016.

Rashaan Salaam
refer to caption
Salaam holding the Heisman trophy, 1994
No. 31, 29, 11
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:October 8, 1974
San Diego, California
Died:December 5, 2016 (aged 42)
Boulder, Colorado
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:224 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:La Jolla (CA) Country Day
NFL Draft:1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts:471
Rushing yards:1,684
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Salaam was born in San Diego, California,[1] the son of former Cincinnati Bengals running back Teddy Washington (later Sulton Salaam, after converting to Islam).[2] He was a practicing Muslim.[3] He attended La Jolla Country Day School in suburban San Diego,[4] and played eight-man football. He ran for over 100 yards in every game except one, and was recognized as a high school All-American. He was later inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame.[5]

College career

Salaam attended the University of Colorado, where he played for the Colorado Buffaloes football team from 1992 to 1994. As a junior in 1994, Salaam had one of the best individual seasons in college football history, rushing for a school-record 2,055 yards and becoming only the fourth college running back to run for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He also amassed 24 touchdowns and helped lead Colorado to an 11–1 record, including 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. The Buffaloes' only loss of the season was 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 season's end. Salaam had four consecutive 200-yard rushing games during the season, his best effort coming against the Texas Longhorns, when he set a school record with 362 yards total offense in a 34–31 Colorado win in Austin. He was a unanimous first-team All-American and winner of the Heisman Trophy in December, beating out running back Ki-Jana Carter of Penn State and quarterbacks Steve McNair of Alcorn State and Kerry Collins of Penn State.[6] Salaam also won the Walter Camp Award and Doak Walker Award.[7][8]

Professional career

The Chicago Bears selected Salaam in the first round, with the 21st overall selection, of the 1995 NFL Draft.[9][10] He played for the Bears from 1995 to 1997.[1] As a rookie, he rushed for 1,074 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.[9][11] Problems with injuries, fumbles, and marijuana use[12] led him to spend only three years with the Bears. During his two final years with Chicago, Salaam mustered only 608 combined yards.[13] The Bears traded Salaam to the Miami Dolphins before the 1998 season, but the trade was undone when Salaam failed a physical examination with Miami.[14] Salaam spent 1999 with the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers, but only played in two games for the Browns that year.[11]

Salaam briefly played in the XFL for the Memphis Maniax in 2001,[15] but injury cut his season short and the league folded after one season. He finished the year with 528 yards gained.[16]

Salaam launched what appeared to be a final attempt at an NFL career in 2002, beginning with a much publicized training at the Cris Carter Speed School.[17] He was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers in 2003 but in August 2003, Salaam was subsequently let go by the 49ers in the second-to-last round of cuts, despite receiving accolades from then 49ers head coach Dennis Erickson.[18]

Salaam was signed by the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) on February 20, 2004. He was then suspended by the Argos in May, effectively ending his career.[19]


Salaam was found dead on December 5, 2016, in a park in Boulder, Colorado. An autopsy was performed due to the fact that authorities found a note near the body and were investigating it as a possible suicide.[19][20]

On December 29, it was confirmed that the manner of death was suicide, specifically a gunshot wound to the head, in a report released by The Boulder County Coroner's Office.[21] Salaam's blood-alcohol content was reportedly three times the legal driving limit and he had THC in his system.[22]

Salaam’s family did not consent to neuropathological tests that would have revealed whether he had previously sustained chronic head trauma, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. They declined, due to religious reasons,[23] to have his brain tested to determine whether his depression had been linked to such injuries from his days as a player.[24]

NFL records

  • Youngest player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards[25]

See also


  1. ^ a b National Football League, Historical Players, Rashaan Salaam, Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Smith, Timothy (June 18, 1995). "PRO FOOTBALL: NOTEBOOK; Dad-Son Duos Run Up the Score". Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  3. ^ Chicago Tribune, "Dodging Doubt Like Tacklers," Chicago Tribune (April 30, 1995). Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  4. ^ databaseFootball.com, Players, Rashaan Salaam Archived January 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  5. ^ City News Service, "La Jolla Country Day grad Rashaan Salaam tops list of 50 best San Diego football players Archived August 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine," La Jolla Light (November 29, 2010). Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Former Bear Rashaan Salaam Sells Off Heisman Ring," CBS Chicago (August 10, 2011). Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "Salaam wins award". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. November 30, 1994. p. 5C. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  8. ^ Howell, Brian (June 1, 2016). "Former CU Buffs Bieniemy, Salaam on College Football Hall of Fame ballot". Longmont Times Call. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Catching up with former Chicago Bear Rashaan Salaam". Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  10. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1995 National Football League Draft. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Pro-Football-Reference.com, Players, Rashaan Salaam. He was also UPI NFC Rookie of the year.Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  12. ^ "Catching up with former Chicago Bear Rashaan Salaam". Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  13. ^ Russell, Dalton (November 28, 2013). "Chicago Bears: Top Five Turkeys in Franchise History". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
  14. ^ "Miami pulls out on trade with Bears". The Daily News. Associated Press. April 25, 1998. p. 3B. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  15. ^ Wiederer, Dan. "Former Bear Rashaan Salaam found dead at 42". Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  16. ^ "Memphis Maniax Roster: Rashaan Salaam". Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  17. ^ "Future In The Past". Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  18. ^ "49ers release Salaam". Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "'94 Heisman winner Salaam dead at age 42". Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  20. ^ https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2016/12/06/rashaan-salaam-dead-heisman-trophy-winner-university-of-colorado/95054912/
  21. ^ "Former Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam's death ruled a suicide". ESPN. December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  22. ^ "Autopsy says former CU star Rashaan Salaam shot himself in the head". The Denver Post. December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  23. ^ Reuters: "Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam committed suicide -coroner" December 29, 2016
  24. ^ "Rashaan Salaam's Family Declines to Test His Brain for Trauma". nytimes. December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  25. ^ "Rashaan Salaam dead at 42: Ex-Colorado football player was Heisman winner". Retrieved December 7, 2016.

External links

1992 Colorado Buffaloes football team

The 1992 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder in the 1992 college football season. The team was led by head coach Bill McCartney and played their home games at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. The Buffaloes participated as members of the Big 8 Conference.

1994 All-Big Eight Conference football team

The 1994 All-Big Eight Conference football team consists of American football players chosen by various organizations for All-Big Eight Conference teams for the 1994 NCAA Division I-A football season. The selectors for the 1994 season included the Associated Press (AP).

1994 Colorado Buffaloes football team

The 1994 Colorado Buffaloes football team represented the University of Colorado at Boulder in the 1994 college football season. The Buffaloes offense scored 439 points while the defense allowed 235 points. The team was led by head coach Bill McCartney.

The Buffaloes' only loss of the season came on the road against eventual consensus national champion Nebraska. Colorado, ranked #2 at the time, was in line to play for the national title as part of the Bowl Coalition. They were leapfrogged in the polls by the Cornhuskers, who had been ranked #3, and finished the regular season ranked #4.

The Buffaloes competed in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl, which they won 41–24 over unranked Notre Dame.

The problem of scheduling bowl match-ups for top-ranked teams led to the dissolution of the Bowl Coalition and the creation of the Bowl Alliance (#2 ranked Penn State was not eligible as a member of the Big Ten Conference to play the #1 ranked team). Notre Dame, playing as an independent, had its own agreement with the Bowl Coalition, which allowed the Fiesta Bowl to choose them as an at-large opponent over more highly ranked teams.

1994 NCAA Division I-A football season

The 1994 NCAA Division I-A football season was the main college football season sanctioned by the NCAA. The season began in August 1994 and ended on January 2, 1995. Nebraska, who finished the season undefeated, ended the year ranked #1 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls. This was the first national championship of coach Tom Osborne's career at Nebraska, despite coming close in two prior attempts; in 1983, his team lost to Miami after Osborne, with his team trailing 31-30 late in the game, elected to try for the lead instead of the tie and failed. In the previous season, Osborne's team lost to eventual national champion Florida State on a missed field goal as time expired.

Although Osborne's team finished the season unbeaten, the national championship picture again was engulfed in controversy. For much of the second half of the season, Nebraska and Penn State were regarded as the top two teams in the country. This raised the possibility of a split national championship for the third time since 1990, due in large part to the system in place that had been concocted to avoid a split title.

Following the 1991 season, where Miami and Washington split the national championship in the AP and Coaches' polls, the Bowl Coalition was founded. The Coalition consisted of six bowls, with the Orange, Fiesta, Cotton, and Sugar bowls were all considered potential hosts for a national championship game. Since three of these bowls already had specific tie-ins with conferences, an agreement was struck where the conferences would agree to release those teams from their contractual obligations in order to achieve a #1 vs #2 matchup. For the first two years of the Coalition, this did occur without incident as the Sugar and Orange Bowls in 1993 and 1994 featured #1 vs. #2 matchups in their respective games.

The problem with this as far as 1994 was concerned was that the Rose Bowl, which featured the Pac-10 and Big Ten champions playing each other, was not included in the Coalition and thus a team that finished #1 or #2 in the polls from those two conferences could not be considered by the Coalition to be its national champion. Nebraska, as a member of the Big Eight Conference, was part of the coalition while Penn State was not. As Nebraska went on to win the conference title, it earned an automatic bid to the Orange Bowl to face off against #3 Miami, who won the Big East title and was #2 in the Coalition pool. Thus Miami, who as recently as two years earlier was in the Coalition championship game, had a chance to stake a claim as the national champion with a win (as they would have been awarded the Coaches' Trophy) and all but ensure a split title with Penn State provided they defeated #13 Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

On January 1, 1995, Nebraska defeated Miami in the Orange Bowl 24-17 and clinched the championship. The next day Penn State defeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl by a count of 38-20 and secured the #2 spot in the polls.

In the offseason that followed, the Bowl Coalition was disbanded and in its place came the Bowl Alliance, which attempted to serve the same purpose by rotating a national championship game between the Sugar, Fiesta, and Orange Bowls. Like the Bowl Coalition before it, the Bowl Alliance did not include the Rose Bowl and two of the three national championship games did not feature a #1 vs. #2 matchup, with the 1997 season seeing another split national championship.

1995 Chicago Bears season

The 1995 Chicago Bears season was their 76th regular season completed in the National Football League (NFL). the Bears matched to a second straight 9–7 record under head coach Dave Wannstedt, but failed to make the playoffs due to a tiebreaker loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears started the 1995 NFL season as one of the hottest teams with a 6–2 record halfway through the season; however, a stunning overtime home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers 37–34 triggered a three-game losing streak as part of losing five out of their next six games falling to a disappointing 7–7 record, essentially eliminating themselves out of playoff contention.

1995 Fiesta Bowl

The 1995 IBM OS/2 Fiesta Bowl, played on January 2, 1995, was the 24th edition of the Fiesta Bowl. The game featured the Colorado Buffaloes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Best College Football Player ESPY Award

The Best College Football Player ESPY Award was presented annually between 1993 and 2001 to the collegiate American football player adjudged to be the best in the United States in a given calendar year. The award was subsumed in 2002 by the Best Male College Athlete ESPY Award.

The award voting panel comprised variously fans; sportswriters and broadcasters, sports executives, and retired sportspersons, termed collectively experts; and ESPN personalities from amongst choices selected by the ESPN Select Nominating Committee. Inasmuch as the ESPY Awards ceremonies were conducted in February during the pendency of the award's existence, an award presented in a given year is for performance and achievements in the one year theretofore.

Christian Fauria

Christian Ashley Fauria (born September 22, 1971) is an American former football tight end.

Colorado Buffaloes

The Colorado Buffaloes are the athletic teams that represent the University of Colorado Boulder. The university sponsors 17 varsity sports teams. Both the men's and women's teams are called the Buffaloes (Buffs for short) or, rarely, the Golden Buffaloes. "Lady Buffs" referred to the women's teams beginning in the 1970s, but was officially dropped in 1993. The nickname was selected by the campus newspaper in a contest with a $5 prize in 1934 won by Andrew Dickson of Boulder. The university participates as a member of the Pac-12 Conference at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. Rick George was announced as the sixth athletic director in program history on July 17, 2013, following the resignation of Mike Bohn, and after an interim appointment by former Women's Basketball Head Coach and current senior associate athletic director and senior women's administrator Ceal Barry. Colorado has won 28 national championships in its history, with 20 in skiing, including 2015. It was ranked #14 of "America's Best Sports College" in a 2002 analysis performed by Sports Illustrated. The University has no men's baseball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, or volleyball programs.

Colorado Buffaloes football

The Colorado Buffaloes football program represents the University of Colorado Boulder in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level. The team is currently a member of the Pac-12 Conference, having previously been a charter member of the Big 12 Conference. Before joining the Big 12, they were members of the Big Eight Conference. The CU football team has played at Folsom Field since 1924. The Buffs all-time record is 694–493–36 (.583 winning percentage) prior to the Valero Alamo Bowl at the end of the 2016 season. Colorado won a National Championship in 1990. The football program is 23rd on the all-time win list and 30th in all-time winning percentage.

Colorado Buffaloes football statistical leaders

The Colorado Buffaloes football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the Colorado Buffaloes football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season, and career leaders. The Buffaloes represent the University of Colorado Boulder in the NCAA's Pac-12 Conference.

Although Colorado began competing in intercollegiate football in 1890, the school's official record book considers the "modern era" to have begun in 1930s. Records from before this year are often incomplete and inconsistent, and they are generally not included in these lists.

These lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:

Since 1930s, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.

The NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972 (with the exception of the World War II years), allowing players to have four-year careers.

Bowl games only began counting toward single-season and career statistics in 2002. The Buffaloes have played in five bowl games since then, allowing players in those seasons an extra game to accumulate statistics.

Similarly, the Buffaloes have appeared in the Big 12 Championship Game four times and the Pac-12 Championship Game once, giving players yet another game to accumulate stats.These lists are updated through Colorado's game against California on October 28, 2017.

Doak Walker Award

The Doak Walker Award, first awarded in 1990, honors the top running back in college football in the United States. It is named in honor of Doak Walker, a star halfback in college for the SMU Mustangs and in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions. The 2018 winner of the Doak Walker Award was Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin.

The award requires all candidates to be:

in good academic standing, and

on schedule to graduate within one year of students in their eligibility classification.The award recipient receives a sculpture of Doak Walker, cast in bronze and mounted on a wooden base. It was created by artist Blair Buswell, who has sculpted the busts of more than a dozen inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Heisman curse

The Heisman curse is a term coined to reference a two-part assertion of a negative future for the winning player of the Heisman Trophy. The "curse" supposes that any college football player who wins the Heisman plays on a team that will likely lose its subsequent bowl game. The trend of post-award failure has garnered the attention of the mainstream media. Talk of a curse in relation to bowl results was particularly prevalent from 2003 to 2008, when six Heisman Trophy winners compiled a cumulative 1–5 bowl game record, and five of those six led number one ranked teams into the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game as favorites (Heisman Trophy winners, including Reggie Bush, who gave back his Heisman Trophy, are 4–8 overall in the BCS National Championship Game and College Football Playoff National Championship, although prior to 2009 they were 1–6). Additionally, the Heisman curse asserts that in most cases a Heisman winner will have either a poor career in the National Football League (NFL), or in fact not even see such a football career at all. Although many Heisman winners have not enjoyed success at the professional level, including players like Matt Leinart, Andre Ware, Jason White, Rashaan Salaam, Eric Crouch, Ty Detmer, Troy Smith and Gino Torretta, proponents of the "curse" rarely cite highly successful players such as Barry Sanders, Charles Woodson, Eddie George, Tim Brown, Bo Jackson, Marcus Allen, Earl Campbell, and Tony Dorsett among the notables.

Insofar as there is a "curse" of underperforming Heisman winners, it seems to affect quarterbacks disproportionately. Although certain Heisman winners have gone on to win Super Bowl championships (such as Roger Staubach and Jim Plunkett), comparatively few have had successful NFL careers. Conversely, running backs seem generally to have fared better in the professional ranks, and wide receivers have had mixed results. The only primarily defensive Heisman winner, Charles Woodson, had a successful NFL career and final collegiate bowl game appearance.

The "curse" does not imply that only Heisman winners have failed careers, only the irony behind college football's best underperforming after the award is given. However, while there are numerous counts of players who underperformed after winning the award, an equal number of players have gone on to see great success, evidence that the "curse" is more of an amusement than a reality.

While there is no statistical or empirical evidence that suggests Heisman winners underperform compared to other high-profile collegiate players, some try to explain the perception of the curse by reference to trends regarding voter selections. Some see the trend going back decades to other players, but it has most famously been observed since the 1990s. The accepted logical explanation for the discrepancy between success and failure of Heisman winners is that the people who pick the Heisman are sportswriters and former Heisman winners. This might mean that they vote for a winner based on reputation, without seeing him or really studying him, basically a qualitative approach. On the other hand, the people who pick players for the NFL are talent evaluators. They study tape, interview players and put them through workouts where their strengths and weaknesses can be quantified.

Jeff Madden

Jeff "Mad Dog" Madden is the former strength and conditioning coach for the college football team of the University of Texas, the Texas Longhorns. He helped the team win the 2005 National Championship.

Included among his students are two Heisman Trophy winners: Rashaan Salaam and Ricky Williams.Madden attended and graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He was a football player for the Commodores from 1978–1982. In Madden's senior year, he was one of the players who led Vanderbilt to its best season in modern times. The team was 8-3 in the regular season and played in the Hall of Fame Bowl, one of only three bowl games Vanderbilt has played. The team narrowly missed winning the SEC Championship. Madden was a star linebacker and team leader.

List of Chicago Bears award winners

The Chicago Bears are an American football franchise currently playing in the National Football League. The following is a list of all the awards the franchise has acquired over its 90-year history.

List of NCAA major college football yearly rushing leaders

The list of college football yearly rushing leaders identifies the major college rushing leaders for each season from 1937 to the present. It includes yearly leaders in three statistical categories: (1) rushing yardage; (2) yards per carry; and (3) rushing touchdowns.

Memphis Maniax

The Memphis Maniax was an American football team based in Memphis, Tennessee. The team was part of the XFL begun by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment and by NBC, a major television network in the United States. Home games were played at the Liberty Bowl.

Rich McGeorge

Richard Eugene McGeorge (born September 14, 1948 in Roanoke, Virginia) is a former professional American football player who played tight end for nine seasons for the Green Bay Packers in the National Football League.

Special Teams

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