Former New Orleans Saints player Glenn Foster Jr. died in police custody Monday in Alabama, days after he was pulled over for an alleged traffic violation, his father said.

The 31-year-old athlete and father of four died of unexplained causes when he was in a Pickens County Sheriff’s Office transport between the jail and a nearby medical facility, Glenn Foster Sr. told The Washington Post in an interview Tuesday. After news of Foster’s death stirred questions and outrage from colleagues and fans, family members said they did not get a chance to see the defensive end-turned-entrepreneur from the time he was arrested Friday until he died Monday and are seeking answers.

“What happened?" Foster Sr. asked. “We know nothing because we didn’t have access to our son. We never got the chance to see him.”

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office referred The Post to Alabama’s State Bureau of Investigation, which did not respond to a request for comment. The county coroner’s office did not answer questions from The Post but told the New Orleans Times-Picayune and WWL-TV that the case remained under investigation. The family will seek an independent autopsy, Foster Sr. said.

Foster Sr. said his son, who was experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, told his family he was going on a business trip to Atlanta last week. On Friday, while driving in Reform, Ala., Foster was stopped by police, who told his family he initially tried to flee. He was taken to the county’s jail by police, who informed the family Saturday, Foster Sr. said.

He was booked on counts of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and attempting to elude police, according to jail records.

Foster Sr. said the family explained to Reform’s police chief that his son, who had experienced a manic episode in college and again recently, needed medical treatment for his mental health disorder, and the chief agreed. But when the chief and family went to the jail to bring Foster Jr. to a University of Alabama facility in Birmingham, Foster Sr. was told his son was involved in an “altercation” with another inmate and was now under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s office. They were told family members could not visit Foster Jr. in jail because of covid-19 restrictions.

“Since Friday night, my son, who needed medical treatment for his manic or bipolar episode, never received any treatment,” Foster Sr. said.

On Monday, a judge arranged for Foster Jr. to be taken to a facility about 30 minutes from the jail, Foster Sr. said.

The sheriff’s office, tasked with transporting Foster Jr., told his family that there was no incident when he got into the police cruiser. Yet when he arrived at the medical facility, Foster Jr. was unresponsive and medical personnel were unable to revive him, his father said.

“He arrived to his death,” Foster Sr. said. “I don’t know what happened with him physically while he was in the jail because they wouldn’t let us see him.”

Foster Sr. said he believes the sheriff’s office was negligent because it was informed of his preexisting condition but did not immediately provide medical help. Instead, Foster Jr. was charged with additional crimes while in jail, including robbery as part of the alleged altercation incident.

“All the good things that he did, it looks like the county sheriff is doing things to assassinate my son’s character,” Foster Sr. said, “in addition to assassinating him because they never let him get the medical help that any human being deserves.”

Since the news of Foster’s death was first reported by local media outlets, sports figures and friends across the country paid tribute via social media.

“I really can’t find the words to properly express,” former teammate Terron Armstead tweeted. “Rest In Peace Glenn Foster, you’ll be missed bro!”

“No words right now,” tweeted Illinois state Rep. Kam Buckner. “Rest Powerfully, Little Brother. From Chicago to Champaign to New Orleans. You left your mark everywhere you went. Glenn Foster, we love you bruh.”

Foster, who grew up in Chicago, played his college football for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2013, he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Saints, playing on the NFL team until 2014 after an injury that year. In the years since, Foster and his wife raised four daughters, ages seven months through 9 years old, in Baton Rouge, beginning several businesses including a coffee shop and granite company, his father said.

“My son, instead of being dead in a morgue, should have been in a mental facility where they could have treated his mental illness,” Foster Sr. said. “Now the fruit has fallen from the tree. Once it’s on the ground you can’t put it back. That’s what they’ve done. They snatched the life of my son."

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