DJ Hayden, a former first-round pick who played nine seasons in the NFL, died in a car accident early Saturday morning in Houston, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. He was 33 years old.
The Houston Chronicle first reported the news.
According to the Houston Police Department, Hayden was among six people killed when a car ran a red light at the intersection of Fannin Street and Pierce Street in downtown Houston around 2 a.m. CST. Four people were pronounced dead at the scene. Two of the four other people taken to hospital have since been pronounced deceased.
Hayden, who played at the University of Houston, made national headlines in 2012 after surviving a near-fatal heart injury during practice. The Raiders selected Hayden with the No. 12 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“The Raiders Family mourns the tragic loss of former cornerback DJ Hayden,” the team said in a statement. “DJ, the Raiders’ first-round draft pick out of the University of Houston in 2013, overcame a heart injury suffered during a college workout to play nine years in the NFL, including his first four years with the Silver and Black. DJ’s courage, perseverance, and his commitment to his teammates will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him. The prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with DJ’s loved ones at this time.”
Hayden spent four years in Oakland before stops in Detroit, Jacksonville and Washington. The cornerback produced four interceptions, 46 passes defensed, 4.5 sacks and 328 total tackles during his nine-year NFL career.