Former Oakland Raider Thomas Howard was one of two people who died Monday morning in a crash in Oakland, CSN Bay Area has confirmed.
A BMW, which is believed to be Howard's, was driving at speeds of up to 100 mph, rear-ended a semi-truck along Interstate Highway 880 and flipped over the truck and the center divide crashing into an oncoming Honda, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Howard was drafted by the Raiders in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft and spent four seasons with the team. After being waived by Oakland in 2010, he spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons with Cincinnati.
He signed with Atlanta in October, but was released on Nov. 13.
An officer told NBC Bay Area that the drivers died after the 1 a.m. accident on 880 at 5th Avenue. The other victim was identified as 64-year-old Zenglong Liu of Hayward.
The officer said he isn't sure why the BMW was traveling so fast in the northbound lanes. But the accident was horrific, leaving all the vehicles involved nearly unrecognizable.
Former Radiers' CEO Amy Trask told NBC Bay Area in a statement:
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"I am very, very saddened by the news of Thomas Howard's death. I knew Thomas Howard to be a thoughtful, intelligent, intellectually curious young man who had wonderful hopes and dreams not only for his time in the National Football League, but thereafter. I am so very sad that he will not have an opportunity to pursue all of his dreams and that we will not see those dreams come to fruition."
And Howard's family also sent an emailed statement saying they are "grateful for the outpouring of prayers, love and support we have received today. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect the privacy of our family, as well as the privacy of the family of Zeng Long Liu. Please continue to pray for both families."