Former NFL cornerback D.J. Hayden was among six people killed in Houston early Saturday morning after a car sped through a red light and caused a collision with another vehicle. Hayden was 33.
Hayden’s former University of Houston teammates Zach McMillian and Ralph Oragwu were also killed in the crash, the school confirmed. The driver who ran the red light was also pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Police said four people were pronounced dead at the scene and two more died after being taken to a local hospital. A woman was transported to the hospital with “life-threatening injuries,” police told the Chronicle, while another person was alert and talking with investigators.
The University of Houston also said former player Jeffery Lewis was injured but recovering.
A two-time All-Conference USA honoree with Houston, Hayden made national headlines after a collision in practice in 2012 caused a tear in his heart. He was discharged from the hospital a week later and was selected by the then-Oakland Raiders with the 12th overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft.
“D.J.’s courage, perseverance, and dedication to his teammates will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him,” the Raiders, now based in Las Vegas, said Saturday in a statement. “The prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with D.J.’s loved ones at this time.”
Hayden recorded 328 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles in 92 games (41 starts) with the Raiders (2013-16), Detroit Lions (2017), Jacksonville Jaguars (2018-20) and Washington Commanders (2021).
McMillian was an All-American Athletic Conference second-team selection at cornerback while playing for the Cougars from 2010 to 2013. Oragwu played on the offensive line from 2009 to 2013.
“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 school said in a statement. “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 Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.