Death of 1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam ruled suicide

Posted at 11:35 AM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 14:35:39-05

SAN DIEGO - Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner who grew up in San Diego, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in a Colorado park on Dec. 5, the Boulder County coroner confirmed Thursday.

In an autopsy report released by the office, said a note was found at the scene and that Salaam had a history of depression and "recent life stressors."

His blood-alcohol level was 0.25 percent, more than three times the legal limit for driving, according to the autopsy report. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was also present in his body, the report said.

Salaam dominated high school opponents at La Jolla Country Day, which played eight-man football at the time.

He went on to the University of Colorado, where he 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.

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.

His National Football League career lasted four seasons. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his rookie year with the Chicago Bears.

His brother told USA Today Sports that Salaam had symptoms associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- known commonly in football circles as CTE -- but his family declined a post-mortem examination of his brain for religious reasons, the coroner's report said.

CTE was believed to be a factor in the suicide of another San Diego County football star, Junior Seau, four years ago.