GREATEST COLLEGE PLAYERS WITH QUIETEST NFL CAREERS
NO. 3, RASHAAN SALAAM
Rashaan Salaam wasn't quite Barry Sanders circa 1988, but his big season was still one of the best in college football history.
Before Salaam in 1994, only three players had rushed for 2,000 yards in a season and each one – Sanders, Marcus Allen and Mike Rozier – is considered an all-time great in the sport.
Salaam's legacy includes his tremendous Heisman Trophy season at Colorado, but it also includes his disappointing and strange NFL career.
Salaam's NFL career began well enough, with 1,074 yards as a rookie with the Bears. It wasn't all that impressive, considering a mediocre 3.6-yard average, but it was a good start. Instead of being the first step, it was the lone highlight.dependent on marijuana and said that was a reason his pro career fizzled out. He has said he didn't know how hard he needed to work to be a success in the NFL. After one carry with the Browns in 1999, he had stints in the XFL and CFL but never played in the NFL again.
None of that changes what happened in 1994, when Salaam had a season that rivals any before or since.
He had 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns, and that was before the days when bowl games counted for season records (why this can't be done retroactively is simply baffling). He added 83 yards and three touchdowns in a Fiesta Bowl win that capped an 11-1 season. He had at least 200 yards in four games, at least 100 yards 10 times, and in the only two games he didn't break 100 he had seven touchdowns. He also didn't play the fourth quarter in five Colorado blowout wins. His best moment that season came when he had 362 yards from scrimmage in a 34-31 win at Texas. He had a great combination of power and speed, and he was unstoppable that entire season.
Salaam's amazing season deserves to be remembered alongside the other great seasons in college football history, no matter what happened after he left Colorado.
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