Rashaan Salaam, former CU Buff Heisman Trophy winner, laid to rest

Posted at 5:34 PM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 20:04:21-05

BOULDER, Colo. -- Friends and family gathered Friday afternoon at the Islamic Center of Boulder to say goodbye to former CU Football star, Rashaan Salaam.

"So with our brother who is gone now physically, you still have all those wonderful memories, right? We still have all the wonderful memories of our brother, Rashaan. His good spirit, his appetite for good food. We still remember all those good things, we never forget those tings," an Imam said the public service.

About 200 people joined in song and prayer during the brief ceremony. Afterward, the 42-year-old's father, Sultan Salaam, spoke about how his faith is helping him through his grief.

"Allah puts on you no burden you cannot bare," the elder Salaam said. "This is a heavy burden for me, that's why I came up to tell you, we have a responsibility to each other as human beings, being human."

After the service, Salaam's body was taken by procession to Mountain View Memorial Park where he was laid to rest.

Salaam in football 

Rashaan Salaam was a standout running back who won the first and only Heisman Trophy Award for the Colorado Buffaloes in 1994 as a junior. 

The running back had football -- and the ground game -- in his blood. His father, Teddy Washington, as he was known before his conversion to Islam, was a running back for the Cincinnati Bengals.

After winning the Heisman in 1994, Salaam skipped his senior year of college and entered the NFL draft, where he was selected in the first round by the Chicago Bears.

Salaam would play for the Bears from 1995 through 1997. In his first year he became the youngest player in the NFL to rush for 1,000 yards.

Due to problems on and off the field -- including marijuana use, which is now legal in Colorado, but banned in the league -- the Bears would relieve him of his duties. He would go on to play for the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers.

Salaam would attempt to continue his career in football, both in other leagues and in the NFL, but he would never appear in another NFL game after the 1999 season.



An enduring legacy

Rashaam Salaam maintained a foundation called the Spin Foundation. He's said his goal for the foundation was assisting children in the Colorado area achieve success. 

Salaam held fundraisers, camps and clinics and more as he attempted to help children avoid some of the mistakes he made while accomplishing their own goals. 

"Life can present many obstacles and difficult decisions at any age, but especially as a young person," Salaam penned on his website. 

Salaam said he wanted all people to live by 10 rules, which he called Cowboy Ethics.

  1. Live each day with courage
  2. Take pride in your work
  3. Always finish what you start
  4. Do what has to be done
  5. Be tough, but fair
  6. When you make a promise, keep it
  7. Ride for the brand 
  8. Talk less and say more
  9. Remember that some things aren't for sale
  10. Know where to draw the line

The Boulder County Coroner's Office still hasn't officially said how Salaam died. His body was found Monday night in the parking lot of Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder. 


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