Atlanta Falcons tight end Brad Beckman was killed early today in a crash on Interstate 85, the second player on the NFL team to die in a traffic accident in less than a month.
Beckman, 24, played college football at the University of Nebraska at Ohama and was in his second year in the National Football League.
“This second tragedy in less than a month truly brings remorse to all of us,” said Falcons President Rankin M. Smith Jr. ". . . Any death is truly saddening, but to lose young men like this is devastating and leaves such a void in all of our lives.”
Gwinnett County police spokesman Larry Walton said the accident happened about 4 or 4:30 a.m. in icy conditions on Interstate 85 near Lilburn, south of the Falcons’ Suwanee training complex. The Atlanta area had a dusting of snow and sleet early today.
Walton said the car in which Beckman was riding bumped the rear of another vehicle and skidded across the northbound lanes of the interstate. The car was then hit broadside by a truck, he said.
On Nov. 24, Falcons rookie tackle Ralph Norwood was killed when he fell asleep at the wheel of his car on a Gwinnett County road.
In October, 1988, Falcons defensive back David Croudip suffered heart failure at his home after he consumed a mixture of fruit juice and cocaine. Authorities said the death appeared to be accidental.
Beckman’s family had not yet made funeral arrangements today, a statement from the Falcons said.
Beckman, a native of Lincoln, Neb., grew up in Omaha. He was a seventh-round draft pick of Minnesota in 1988 but was cut and then signed by the New York Giants. He played 12 games for New York in 1988 and was signed by the Falcons in March.
This season, Beckman caught 11 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown.