Former NFL star D.J. Hayden has died at the age of 33.
Hayden died on Saturday, November 11, in Houston, Texas. The former Raiders cornerback was involved in a two-vehicle crash that killed six people, including five men and one woman.
A Chrysler 300 was allegedly “going very fast, high velocity,” ran the red light and collided with an Acura SUV, Houston Police Assistant Chief Megan Howard said in a media briefing posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday.
Four people died at the scene, including the driver of the Chrysler and an apparently homeless man who was struck when the vehicle went on the sidewalk. Four others were taken to a nearby hospital, where two have since been pronounced dead.
Hayden’s University of Houston teammates Zach McMillian and Ralph Oragwu were also killed in the car crash. Teammate Jeffrey Lewis is injured.
“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,” the University of Houston athletic department wrote in a statement on Saturday.
They continued: “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.”
In 2012, Hayden suffered a near-fatal heart injury after a collision during practice while at the University of Houston. The cornerback was a first-round NFL Draft pick the next year, and was selected by the Oakland Raiders (now based in Las Vegas). He went on to play for the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Commanders, ultimately retiring from the NFL after the 2021 season.
“The Raiders Family is mourning the tragic loss of former cornerback D.J. Hayden,” the Raiders wrote in a statement on Saturday. “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.”
They 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.”