D.J. Hayden, a former NFL player, was killed in a car accident at the age of 33.
“D.J.’s courage, perseverance, and dedication to his teammates will be remembered fondly by everyone who knew him,” the cornerback’s former team, the Las Vegas Raiders, said in a statement.
Former NFL player D.J. Hayden was killed in an automobile accident early Saturday morning, according to ESPN. He was 33.
According to the Houston Police Department, the former cornerback was one among six individuals murdered on Nov. 11 when a vehicle went through a red light at 2 a.m., colliding with another car and striking a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
Four persons were pronounced dead at the site of the incident, including the pedestrian and driver who ran the red light, according to the HPD.
Four people were brought to a neighboring hospital on Saturday morning, when two died, one was in critical condition, and one was in stable condition and being interviewed by police.
According to ESPN, two of Hayden’s former University of Houston teammates, Zach McMillian and Ralph Oragwu, were killed in the crash. Another former Houston Cougar, Jeffery Lewis, was hurt.
The Cougars’ athletic department issued a statement on Saturday honoring the players, saying, “The entire University of Houston community is heartbroken over the tragic passing of former Football student-athletes D.J. Hayden, Zachary McMillian, and Ralph Oragwu earlier today, and our thoughts and prayers remain with Jeffery Lewis in his recovery ahead.”
“We extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends, and loved ones, as we collectively mourn the loss of three individuals who made an indelible impact on each life they touched,” the statement said. “While their combined talents provided Houston Football some of its most unforgettable moments, their unique legacies will best be remembered for the way they loved their teammates, supported their communities and defied the odds.”
Hayden was the No. 1 overall pick of the Las Vegas (previously Oakland) Raiders in 2013 after suffering a near-fatal cardiac ailment in practice in 2012. On Saturday afternoon, the team posted a tribute to Hayden.
“The Raiders Family is in mourning following the tragic loss of former cornerback D.J. Hayden,” the Raiders said in a statement. “The Raiders’ first-round draft pick out of the University of Houston in 2013, D.J. overcame a heart injury sustained in a college practice to play nine years in the NFL, including his first four with the Silver and Black.”
“D.J.’s courage, perseverance, and dedication to his teammates will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him,” the statement said. The Raider Nation’s thoughts and prayers are with D.J.’s family at this time.”
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following playing for the Cougars and the Raiders during his college career, the Houston native went on to play for the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Washington Commanders before retiring from the NFL following the 2021 season, according to ESPN.
According to the outlet, he has 328 tackles, four interceptions, and four forced fumbles over his nine-year, 92-game NFL career.