"D.J.'s courage, perseverance, and dedication to his teammates will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him," the cornerback's former team, the Las Vegas Raiders, wrote in a statement
D.J. Hayden, a former NFL player, was killed in a car crash early Saturday morning, ESPN reported. He was 33.
The former cornerback was one of six people who were killed in Houston on Nov. 11 after a vehicle sped through a red light around 2 a.m., colliding with another car and causing it to strike a pedestrian on the sidewalk, according to the Houston Police Department.
According to the HPD, four people were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, including the pedestrian and driver who ran the red light.
As of Saturday morning, four others were taken to a nearby hospital where two died, one was in critical condition, and one was in stable condition and being interviewed by police.
Two of Hayden’s former University of Houston teammates, Zach McMillian and Ralph Oragwu, were killed in the crash, ESPN reported. Jeffery Lewis, another former Houston Cougar, was injured.
On Saturday, in a statement honoring the players, the Cougars’ athletic department wrote, "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 read. “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.”
After experiencing a near-fatal heart injury following a collision in practice in 2012, Hayden was the Las Vegas (formerly Oakland) Raiders’ No. 1 draft pick in 2013. The team shared a post honoring Hayden on Saturday afternoon.
“The Raiders Family is mourning the tragic loss of former cornerback D.J. Hayden,” the Raiders’ statement read. “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.”
The statement continued, “D.J.'s courage, perseverance, and dedication to his teammates will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him. The prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with D.J.'s loved ones at this time.”
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After his college career with the Cougars and stint with the Raiders, the Houston native also played for the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Commanders before retiring from the NFL after the 2021 season, per ESPN.
Throughout his nine-year, 92-game NFL career, he earned 328 tackles, 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles, according to the outlet.
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