D.J. Hayden was among the six people who died in a car accident in Houston, early Saturday morning, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Hayden was 33. The Houston Chronicle was the first to report the news of Hayden’s passing.

He was born in Houston and played college football at the University of Houston. His former fellow Cougar Zach McMillian also died in the wreck, police said. 

Hayden captured the attention of the sports world more than a decade ago when he survived a near-fatal injury to his heart during a full-pads practice at University of Houston. He later became a first-round NFL Draft pick when the Raiders selected him No. 12 overall in 2013.

Houston Police Department spokesperson Asst. Chief Megan Howard said they received a call around 2 a.m. about a traffic accident. Two cars were involved in the fatal crash. The vehicles were identified as a Chrysler 300 and an Acura SUV.


Police determined that the driver of the Chrysler 300 was at fault, as the car went through a red light at a “high velocity.” Four individuals were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, while four others were taken to a nearby hospital. Authorities said that two of the people who were transported to the hospital later died.

Cornerback DJ Hayden seen on the football field after a game

Other details surrounding the incident were not immediately made available. An investigation is underway. 

Police said that five males, including one who they said appeared to be homeless and one female, were among the fatalities. They are now investigating the circumstances of the accident.

D.J. Hayden scores a touchdown

McMillan played for the Cougars from 2010-2013. 

Hayden played for the Raiders, Lions and Jaguars during his nine-year NFL career. He also spent time on Washington’s practice squad in 2021. He finished his career with 4.5 sacks and four interceptions.


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