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Rashaan Salaam
Date of birth: October 8, 1974 (1974-10-08) (age 35)
Place of birth: La Jolla, California
Career information
Position(s): Running back
College: Colorado
NFL Draft: 1995 / Round: 1/ Pick 21
 As player:
Chicago Bears
Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers *
Memphis Maniax
San Francisco 49ers *
Toronto Argonauts *
*Inactive and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Awards: 1994 Heisman Trophy
1994 Walter Camp Award
1994 Doak Walker Award
1994 Jim Brown Award
Playing stats at

Rashaan Iman Salaam (born October 8, 1974 in La Jolla, California) is a former professional American football player. Salaam won the 1994 Heisman Trophy as a running back for the University of Colorado, rushing for 2,055 yards by the end of the season. Salaam is the fourth major college football player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. A high school All-American running back from San Diego (La Jolla Country Day), Salaam's success at Colorado led to his selection as the Chicago Bears’ first-round draft pick in the 1995 NFL Draft.

Early years

Salaam attended the La Jolla Country Day School, where he played 8-man football and ran for over 100 yards in every game except for one. He was held under 100 yards against Christian High School, in an 11 man game. His team still won the game 16–13.

College career

As a junior, Salaam had one of the best individual seasons by a running back in college football history in 1994, rushing for a school-record 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns and leading Colorado to an 11-1 record, including a 41-24 win over Notre Dame in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl, and a No. 3 finish in the final Associated Press poll. The Buffaloes' only loss on the season was at the hands of Big Eight rival Nebraska, which would finish undefeated and No. 1 in both the AP and United Press International polls at year's end. Salaam had four consecutive 200-yard rushing games during the season, his best effort coming against Texas, when he set a school record with 362 yards total offense in a 34-31 Colorado win in Austin. He was a unanimous all-American and became the school's first Heisman Trophy winner in December, besting runner-up Ki-Jana Carter of Penn State by 842 points. Though he had been little-known prior to the 1994 season, Salaam left school for the 1995 NFL Draft with a year of eligibility remaining.

Pro football career

In the NFL, the highly touted Salaam did not meet the high expectations. As a rookie, he rushed for over 1,000 yards (a Chicago Bears rookie record until 2001 when it was broken by Anthony Thomas) and scored 10 touchdowns. But problems with injuries and fumbles led him to spend only three years with the Bears, ending with the 1997 season. Salaam spent 1999 with the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers, but only played in two games for the Browns that year.

Salaam briefly played in the ill-fated XFL for the Memphis Maniax, but injury cut his season short and the league folded after one season. Still, he was the 4th most prolific rusher in the league with 528 yards.

After his stint with the Maniax, he tried out for the Detroit Lions. However, he did not make the squad.

Salaam launched what appeared to be a final attempt at an NFL career in 2002, beginning with a much publicized training at the Cris Carter Speed School. He was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers in 2003 but in August 2003, Salaam was subsequently let go by the 49ers in the second-to-last round of cuts. Despite receiving accolades from then 49ers head coach Dennis Erickson, Salaam was never signed by another NFL team.

Salaam was signed by the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL on February 20, 2004. He was then suspended by the Argos in May, effectively ending his career there.

Preceded by
Charlie Ward
Heisman Trophy Winner
Succeeded by
Eddie George
Preceded by
John Thierry
Bears 1st round draft pick
Succeeded by
Walt Harris


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