On the same day the Colorado Buffaloes honored the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner posthumously in the Alamo Bowl, the Boulder County Coroner’s office officially ruled Rashaan Salaam’s death a suicide, according to multiple reports.
Salaam was found dead in a Boulder park on Dec. 5; the coroner’s office reported Thursday that his death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The Buffaloes honored Salaam on Thursday night at the Alamo Bowl with a helmet decal displaying his initials above the No. 19 he wore for Colorado.
Salaam rushed for a school record 2,055 yards en route to a Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Award, Doak Walker Award, Jim Brown and a unanimous All-America selection as a junior before declaring for the NFL Draft.
The San Diego native was the 21st overall selection in the 1995 draft by the Chicago Bears. He would go on to rush for 1,000 yards as a rookie – the youngest player in history to reach the 1,000-yard mark. His career was derailed by injuries and self-admitted substance abuse, specifically marijuana.
In addition to the cause of death, the coroner’s report also noted that Salaam’s family was offered the opportunity to test his brain for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), but the family declined.
Salaam was 42 and is survived by his father, Sulton Salaam, his mother, Khalada Salaam-Alaji, and his brother, Jabali Alaji.