Salaam, Rashaan (1974-2016)

Cards: SkyBox Impact 1995, Topps XFL 2001
Acquired: TTM 2011, C/o Home.
Sent: 9/2/11  Received: 3/24/12  (204 days)

Well I had chocked it up to the mail gods that I would not be receiving this one back, but after a 200+ day wait, I received these two beauties back in the mail. Salaam had been signing at a breakneck pace, and I had been tracking him through Sportscollectors.net, so I shot these two cards out as soon as I had a chance back in September of last year. It appears that I was in the first round of signings that had to wait a while. Still I am really happy to add Salaam to my collection and he was kind enough to inscribe the cards with his Heisman year.

Rashaan Salaam first came to my attention when Texas joined the Big 12. An imposing runner, he had 2,055 yards in 1994- still one of the highest numbers in college history. He’d have his best game against the Longhorns, galloping for some 350+ yards against them, (-obviously a CU record), becoming the first Buff to win the Heisman, and grabbing Unanimous All-American honors. While I thought that the Buffs would continue to provide a rival to the Longhorns, unfortunately their 3rd place national ranking after the season was their best, for the rest of Colorado’s time in the Big 12.  Salaam declared for the NFL draft after his amazing 1994 season.

The Chicago Bears in 1995, now led by head coach Dave Wannastedt, tapped Salaam with the 7th pick overall in the 1995 draft. Salaam had a decent rookie season. In his rookie campaign, he amassed over 1000 yards rushing and had 10 touchdowns.  The runningback Sophomore jinx struck in 1996 as Salaam started only 6 games that season, plagued by injuries running for a shade under 500 yards. It also didn’t help that Rashaan didn’t protect the rock well, and after a short 1997, the writing was on the wall with the addition of Curtis Enis to the roster in 1998. Salaam was a free agent, and played briefly for the Browns and Packers in 1999.

Salaam was a rare breed as far as backs go. He could do it all, but the abuse he took running for Colorado clearly had taken its toll by the time he emerged onto the NFL scene. The double-edged sword to Salaam was that the more carries he got, the more dangerous he became. After sitting it out for a few years, the XFL called wanting to know if he was interested in reviving his career in 2001. Salaam took the opportunity by the horns, and was drafted by the Memphis Maniax. In his first game Rashaan ran for a league high 156 yards, but was injured with 4 games left in the season. He’d accumulate 528 yards on the ground (4th), 5 TDs rushing (3rd), 88 YPG (2nd), and  key the Maniax’s league leading rushing game.  The league disbanded after the season.

Salaam attempted a comeback to the NFL, with the Detroit Lions in 2002, but did not make the cut. He then spent a brief time with the Argonauts in the CFL, and retired after the season. Salaam also made an appearance in Tecmo Super Bowl Final Edition for Super Nintendo where he was a very good budget runningback for the Bears.
Below are his NFL and XFL statistics:

NFL  G/Gs 33/21 Rush 471   Yds 1684   Avg  3.6     Td  14    Lg 42
Rec 16   Yds  120   Avg 7.5   Td  1   Lg 18

XFL  G/Gs 6/6   Rush  114    Yds 528      Avg   4.6     Td   5     Lg  39t
Rec   6   Yds  41    Avg  6.8     Td 0     Lg  8

UPDATE 12/6/2016: Rashaan passed away today at the age of 42. His body was found at a park less than two miles away from the stadium where he starred at the University of Colorado.  It is believed at this time that he passed away of natural causes.