Earlier this week, we wrote about the tragic death of Rashaan Salaam, the first Heisman Trophy winner ever for the University of Colorado Buffaloes. Salaam was found dead in a Boulder park on Monday night of a suspected suicide; his funeral service is scheduled for today.
Now, ex-Buffs quarterback (and former NFL star) Kordell Stewart is calling on CU to build a statute in Salaam's honor — and he says the university has plenty of money to do it.
Stewart made his comments to TMZ in a video on view below.
"He was like my little brother, to be honest with you," Stewart said. "The last time seeing him was when I went back to school to graduate. We just talked about the good old days — talked about how much fun it was, man. Rashaan winning the Heisman Trophy was the equivalent of us winning the national championship that year — going 11-1. To see the big baby in the backfield get those yards...behind those guys up front, man.... That back combination of a quarterback and a running back can never be duplicated.... It was a pleasure, an honor. He will be missed."
Bill McCartney, Mike Tanner and Rashaan Salaam in a photo Salaam shared in 2015.
According to Stewart, Salaam exhibited no signs of depression during their last get-together. "I know it had nothing to do with money, it had nothing to do with just living," he maintains. "When we saw him, it was the same old Salaam: 'I bet you I can beat you from point A to point B. Let's race right now. Let's put something on it.' Every time. It didn't fail. Every time we got together, he'd say, 'Hey, man, I bet you I can beat you from here to the light post.' It could be no more than twenty yards. And Rashaan, with those high knees.... He still looked like he was in pretty good shape at the time. He was still the same Rashaan.... He kept a smile on his face...talking about how he loved you, talking about games, talking about each other right in front of each other, cracking jokes."
When asked if Colorado should honor Salaam during its upcoming Alamo Bowl appearance, Stewart said yes — "but that's not the last time. He's the first guy to get us a Heisman Trophy. I think the way he did it, I've never seen anyone do it like that before. The way he took it over was unbelievable: breaking tackles, making great runs. And most importantly, as a person. I don't think it stops with the Alamo Bowl. I think it starts there."
Indeed, Stewart called for "a statute at the university, around the Champions Center, along with other people," including Coach Bill McCartney. He added, "The institution has so much money. We could take that chump change and put a statue up."
The funeral service for Salaam gets under way at the Islamic Center of Boulder, 5495 Baseline Road, beginning at 11:45 a.m. today, Friday, December 9. The public is invited to attend. Here's the interview with Stewart.