Isaiah ‘Butch’ Robertson, a former two-time All-Pro linebacker, has died after the limousine he was driving skidded on a rain-slicked curve on a dark Texas highway. He was 69.
Robertson died on Thursday just hours after delivering a motivational speech to high school students in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, while heading home alone after dropping off his limo driver.
The crash occurred around 10pm on Texas Route 198 north of Maybank, about 70 miles from the event at Grand Prarie High School, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Investigators say that the limousine Robertson was driving entered the curve at an unsafe speed for the rainy conditions.
It veered off the road and skidded sideways before coming to a stop partially on the road. A pickup truck following behind hit the limo, knocking the limo into the southbound lane where it was slammed by an oncoming car.
Robertson, who lived in Garland, was taken to an Athens hospital 20 miles away, where he died. The truck driver was treated for minor injuries and discharged. The other car driver was unhurt.
The Los Angeles Rams drafted Robertson from Southern University in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1971.
Robertson remained with the Rams through 1978, helping Los Angeles win six straight NFC West titles from 1973 to 1978.
He then played in 1979-82 for the Buffalo Bills. He was named first-team All-Pro in 1973 and 1976 and was chosen for the Pro Bowl in his rookie 1971 season, as well as 1973-77.
In a statement, the Rams said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our Legends, Isiah Robertson. He will be remembered not only for the great player he was, helping our team achieve multiple division championships in the ’70s, but also by the work he did helping others.’
Robertson has been open about his struggles with drug addiction before he achieved sobriety, once telling the Los Angeles Times that his crack cocaine habit got so bad in his final years of playing that he lost his 14 homes as well as his businesses and cars.
‘This disease is like a psychological earthquake,’ he told the newspaper in 2007. ‘It just sits around and sits around and then you end up in the wrong place with the wrong people … and put yourself in position to not go to work for three days, or not go home for three days.
‘You’re lying, you’re stealing, you’re doing everything you can do to keep that high. You’re like a greyhound running around the track chasing a rabbit.’
After nearly dying from a beating over a drug dispute in the 1980s, Robertson finally got sober.
He went on to found the House of Isaiah, a recovery center in Maybank for men with drug and substance abuse problems.
Robertson also provided scholarships and inspiration to students, including those at Grand Prairie High, encouraging them to go to college, the Star-Telegram reported.
The night of his death, spoke at an athletic banquet at Grand Prairie.
He warned the students against the dangers of drugs and encouraged them not to give up on their dreams.
‘If you have a setback, you don’t have to take a step back because God’s gonna come back,’ he said at the banquet.
‘I want to tell you, God has a plan for every one of you.’
SOURCE: Dailymail by KEITH GRIFFITH and ASSOCIATED PRESS