Former All-American, NFL Player Reggie Rogers Found Dead at the Age of 49

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

Photo Credit: Seattle Times

Reggie Rogers, a former NFL first-round draft pick and standout defensive lineman at the University of Washington in the late 1980s, died Thursday morning in Seattle.

He was 49.

As noted by Jennifer Sullivan of the Seattle Timeslaw enforcement was called to a 12:47 p.m. for an unresponsive man lying on a residential porch area, later confirmed to be Rogers. He was dead by the time police arrived at the scene.

The King County medical examiner's office refused to divulge details, but an investigator confirmed to Casey McNerthney of KITO 7 that they are treating this as an expected overdose. An autopsy will be performed to officially diagnose the cause of death.   

Rogers was one of the most decorated athletes in Washington football history. A strong defensive tackle with a nose for the football, Rogers was named an All-American and won the Morris Trophy in 1986. He was also part of the team's Orange Bowl winners in 1984 and played three seasons on the Huskies basketball team.   

The Detroit Lions subsequently took Rogers with the No. 7 pick in the 1987 NFL draft, but trouble soon followed. He played in only 11 games for Detroit, suffering through personal problems in his rookie season and then being charged with vehicular homicide after killing three teenagers in a DUI-related car accident. 

On Oct. 20, 1988, Rogers was driving under the influence in Michigan when he ran a stop sign, crashing into the car carrying the victims. Police administered an alcohol screening at the scene, and Rogers' blood-alcohol content was 0.15, or 1.5 times the legal limit at the time.         

Detroit released him in the aftermath of the crash. A judge sentenced him to between 16 and 24 months in prison. 

After his release, Rogers returned to the NFL for two seasons. He played for the Buffalo Bills in 1991 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1992, never reclaiming the skills that made him a first-round choice. 

Since leaving football, Rogers' legal and personal problems have continued to mount. He's been charged with no fewer than five DUIs in the State of Washington, and has been arrested on other charges, including a DUI-related hit-and-run. Rogers was arrested earlier in October on domestic violence charges after allegedly striking his wife in the head with a flashlight.

Those charges were still pending at the time of his death.

Rogers is survived by his wife and children, which include former UW center Regina Rogers.


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