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Rob Bironas, Former Titans Kicker, Passes Away at Age 36

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2014

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Updates from Friday, Oct. 3

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean has the latest on Bironas the night of his death:

Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports

BREAKING: Toxicology testing on Rob Bironas showed that he had a blood alcohol level of .218%, well over the legal limit (.08).

Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports

BREAKING: A low level of Diazepam (Valium) was also detected. The Medical Examiner said level would have had a negligible effect on Bironas

Wyatt also provided a statement from Bironas' father Larry:

We appreciate the hard work of the local authorities to help us begin to answer the many questions we have had surrounding the death of our son. Today we learned that Rob had been drinking, and got behind the wheel. This is something he didn't do as a rule. We don't know why he made that choice this time. Rob made a mistake, and he paid the ultimate price. We appreciate the outpouring of support, care and concern showed to us by Rob's friends, the NFL, and the Nashville community. We appreciate your respect for his mother and me, his siblings, his son, and his wife as we grieve.

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 23

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported more details on Rob Bironas' actions on the night of his death:

Two Belmont students say former Titans kicker Rob Bironas threatened to kill them and sideswipe the truck they were in before confronting a man and woman in another car and trying to run their vehicle off the road Saturday night. Minutes later, Bironas lost control of his SUV and died in a one-car crash.

Connor Fraley, a 20-year-old student, said he was a passenger in a pickup truck that Bironas tried to hit on Franklin Road during a high-speed chase, after Bironas made threatening comments at an intersection minutes earlier.

Updates from Monday, Sept. 22

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean has shocking new details on what occurred the night of Rob Bironas' death:

A woman at the scene of the fatal one-vehicle accident involving Rob Bironas alleges in a 911 call that the former Titans kicker tried to run her car off the road moments before crashing.

In an 11:03 p.m. call to 911, the woman says she and her husband crossed paths with a white SUV.

"We let him go on past us because he was trying to run us off the road and we don't know who he is,'' the woman told the 911 operator. "… We just pulled out of his way, and we saw all this smoke and pulled over."

The woman's voice, trembling with emotion, said she and her husband did not know the man driving the SUV.

"There is something wrong with him,'' she said. "He gave us a mean look. We don't even know him, and he tried to run us off the road."

(...)

Police spokesman Don Aaron said police were made aware of the 911 call on Monday.

"The report from this citizen is part of the investigation,'' Aaron said. "A statement from her will be a part of the investigation."

Wyatt went on to report that Bironas' wife had called the police after the former kicker could not be reached:

Rob Bironas' wife, Rachel Bradshaw, did not realize her husband had left their Nashville home Saturday night, according to police records.

(...)

Bradshaw called police Saturday night to report her husband was missing. She told a police officer that she and her husband had been watching a movie earlier that night at their home with a female friend.

Bradshaw said Bironas told her "goodnight" at 10:30 p.m. and she thought he went to bed.

After a few moments, she went to check on him and could not find him.

Original Text

Former Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas passed away late Saturday evening after being involved in a one-car crash while appearing to head back to his home in Nashville. He was 36.

Metro Police confirmed Bironas' death to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean early Sunday morning, noting that officials responded to reports of an accident around 11 p.m in the 800 block of Battery Lane. According to the police report, Bironas was near his home when he lost control of his SUV and ran into trees before his vehicle came to a stop upside down.

Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival when he arrived at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said "there was no evidence of alcohol on the scene," per Wyatt.

The Titans released a statement on Sunday morning:

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We are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news from last night about Rob Bironas. Rob made a significant impact as a player in his nine years with the team and more importantly touched many lives in the Nashville community off the field. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Rachel, and his family during this very difficult time.

Bironas' former teammates Delanie Walker, Colin McCarthy and Matt Hasselbeck also shared their condolences:

Delanie walker @delaniewalker82

It saddens me to hear what happen to rob last night, my prayers are for the family of @RobBironas

Colin McCarthy @COLINMcCARTHY52

My prayers go out to the Bironas and Bradshaw family. I had the opportunity to play with and know a great person. RIP

Matt Hasselbeck @Hasselbeck

Life is too short, make every day count.

Matt Hasselbeck @Hasselbeck

Prayers for the Tennessee Titan family today. #RB2

Wyatt also shared an image from the Titans facility, where the franchise put up an image of the kicker:

Jim Wyatt @jwyattsports

Rob Bironas on the wall at #Titans facility http://t.co/2mNMmUQatw

Bironas, who grew up in Louisville, played his first three years of college ball at Auburn before transferring to Georgia Southern as a senior. Undrafted in 2001, Bironas bounced around to various football leagues.

He latched on with the Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers from 2002-2004 but was cut each time and never made a 53-man roster. Bironas also played for the Charleston Swamp Foxes of af2 (the Arena Football League's former developmental league) and the Carolina Cobras and New York Dragons of the Arena Football League in the first half of the decade.

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Kicker Rob Bironas #2 of the Tennessee Titans converts a game ending, 40 yard field goal for a 26 - 23 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Thursday Night Football game October 11, 2012 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennes
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

After his stint with the Dragons, Bironas found a home in Tennessee. He signed with the Titans before the 2005 season and was their primary kicker for the next nine years, cultivating a reputation as one of the NFL's most consistent legs.

After an up-and-down beginning in his first two seasons, Bironas connected on at least 80 percent of his field goals in the final seven years of his NFL career. In 2007, he made an NFL-high 35 of his 39 attempts en route to earning a Pro Bowl and All-Pro berth. In 2010, he missed only twice in 26 attempts.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

The Titans, who signed Bironas to a two-year, $6.7 million contract in 2013, released him during this past offseason.

"I'm in the best shape of my life both physically and mentally, and my game is good," Bironas said in a statement after his release. "And though it is sad to leave the Titans today, I am leaving on a high note, and I look forward to what is to come."

No teams signed him after the release, though he did work out with the Lions on Tuesday, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. For his career, Bironas made 239 of 279 field goals, good for an 85.7 percentage that is seventh best in NFL history, per Pro Football Reference. His eight field goals in a game against the Houston Texans in 2007 remains the most in league history.

Bironas' family has not released a statement at this time.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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