Cleveland Browns free safety Don Rogers, the American Football Conference's defensive rookie of the year in 1984, died today of cardiac arrest, authorities said. He was to have been married Saturday.
Rogers, 23, the Browns' No. 1 draft choice in 1984 and the mainstay of their defensive secondary, died at 4:31 p.m. (PDT) at Mercy San Juan Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Connie Huff. "He was unconscious when he arrived and remained unconscious until he died."
Loren Willeford, senior investigator for the Sacramento County Coroner's Office, said Rogers -- who, according to broadcasters' reports, attended a bachelor party Thursday night, but left early -- collapsed this morning at his family's Sacramento home.
Family members called an ambulance, Willeford said, and Rogers was taken to Community Hospital in Sacramento at about 11:15 a.m. (PDT). Willeford said Rogers then was transferred to Mercy San Juan Hospital in suburban Carmichael, which is better equipped to handle such emergencies.
Donna O'Ray-King, also of the coroner's office, said initial reports indicated no apparent drug involvement in the death, but added, "We won't know until we do an autopsy."
Otis Nixon of the Cleveland Indians, who lives in the same Cleveland condominium complex as Rogers, said he had "always known him as straight. I would have no idea of him doing drugs. . . . If it was drugs, I would think it was a first-time thing, like Lenny Bias," the Maryland basketball all-America who died June 19 of cardiac arrest after using cocaine.
Bob Golic, a member of the Browns' defensive unit, said, "Everybody's going to think about the Len Bias thing . . . . "
The 6-foot-1, 206-pound Rogers, a native of Texarkana, Ark., who grew up in Sacramento, attended Norte Del Rio High School before going to UCLA, where he was a star safety for the Bruins.