Former UW football star Rogers dead at 49

SEATTLE — Reggie Rogers, a first-round NFL draft pick whose career stalled after he was sentenced to prison for a car crash that killed three teenagers, has died. He was 49.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Friday it didn’t have an immediate cause of death for Rogers, who died Thursday, because toxicology reports were pending. The Seattle Police Department was the investigating agency on the case, but a spokesman for the department declined to comment about Rogers, citing a policy to not identify victims.

The former University of Washington defensive lineman had a troubled life and was arrested this month for investigation of domestic violence assault. His wife told police he hit her on the head with a flashlight in an argument about his drinking. Rogers had pleaded not guilty.

Born on Jan. 21, 1964, in Sacramento, Calif., Reginald O’Keith Rogers had standout football and basketball careers at Washington. The Detroit Lions selected Rogers with the seventh pick in the 1987 draft, choosing him ahead of Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson and quarterback Jim Harbaugh, now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

In October of 1988, however, Rogers had an elevated blood-alcohol content when he ran a stop sign in Michigan and collided with another vehicle, killing three teenagers. Rogers was found guilty of negligent homicide and sent to prison.

Rogers returned to the NFL after his sentence but saw limited action before he was released in 1992 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He later had other legal problems due to other drunken-driving convictions.

Rogers’ older brother followed a similar path from college stardom to the NFL to tragedy. Don Rogers, who played two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, died of a heart attack linked to drug use in 1986.

A University of Washington spokesman declined comment Friday.

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