The fatal crash involving Cardinals cornerback Jeff Gladney took place around 2:30 a.m. on the Woodall Rogers Freeway in Dallas and involved two vehicles, according to a news release from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.
Police said a preliminary investigation found that a white vehicle was speeding and clipped a second vehicle from behind. The white vehicle then lost control and hit a freeway pier beam, killing the man and woman inside, the press release stated. The second vehicle was also occupied by a man and woman, who were not seriously injured.
The names of the deceased will not be released until they are positively identified and next of kin is notified. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
“We are asking prayers for the family, and privacy at this most difficult time,” said Brian Overstreet, Gladney’s agent.
Gladney’s cousin, Sharonda Francois, told WFAA that the 25-year-old had recently purchased a home for his mother and that Gladney’s son just turned 1 in February.
“He really loved his son, a lot of young guys are really not into being parents —- but he really loved him,” Francois said. “He hosted football camps, he took care of our kids at family gatherings. I mean money did not change him, he was still the same down to earth cousin. He was just so well-loved.”
Gladney was drafted No. 31 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 2020. He finished his rookie year with 81 tackles, three passes defended and a forced fumble in 16 games (15 starts).
Gladney was released by the team last August after he was indicted on a domestic-violence assault charge, which stemmed from allegations that he “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly” applied pressure to a former girlfriend’s neck and throat. He did not play last season.
After a Texas court unanimously found Gladney not guilty of the felony assault charge, he signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals in March as a free agent. He had been expected to play a significant role on defense this season.
Gladney took part in the team’s voluntary OTAs last week.
The Cardinals and Vikings both shared statements to Twitter after the news about Gladney’s death was first reported Monday.
Gladney was a standout at TCU before he joined the NFL. The school’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Jeremiah Donati, released a statement that read: “Our TCU Athletics family, and especially our football program, was very devastated to learn of the passing of Jeff Gladney.
“After earning his degree and continuing his playing career in the NFL, Jeff maintained his close ties to TCU. He loved everything about his alma mater. He was a frequent visitor to campus and was at our spring practices and spring game this year, proudly joined by his young son. He will be missed by our entire community. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go to Jeff’s family, friends and TCU teammates.”
Gladney’s death came a month after Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins — a 2019 first-round pick — was struck by a car in April while crossing a highway on foot in Florida.