Raider defensive back David Waymer died suddenly Friday morning at his ranch in Mooresville, N.C., just outside Charlotte. He was 34.
The official cause of death is not expected to be released for several days, but preliminary autopsy information said that traces of cocaine were found in Waymer's blood and urine. Pathologist Patrick Lance also discovered an artery leading to Waymer's heart that had narrowed, a hospital spokesman said.
Waymer had always taken pride in his health and fitness. He did not miss a non-strike game during 13 pro seasons, playing 197 consecutive games in 10 years with the New Orleans Saints, two with the San Francisco 49ers and last season with the Raiders. The Raiders signed him last April as a Plan B free agent.
According to Ann Perez, who works in the Saints' front office and was a friend of Waymer, the defensive back worked out Thursday night as part of a conditioning program to get himself ready for the Raiders' spring mini-camp.
On Friday morning, Waymer awoke and went to get his son, David III, from his crib. Waymer and his wife, B.J., recently celebrated the child's first birthday.
"He got his son and got back into bed," said Waymer's agent, Greg Campbell. "When he went to get back up, he collapsed."
Waymer reportedly died before he reached the hospital.
"This is such a tragic loss of someone so young and vibrant," Raider Coach Art Shell said. "He was a very fine human being. The greatest loss has to be for his family. And we as an organization. We send our condolences to his wife, B.J., and son, David III."
Although he was not a starter, Waymer was conscientious about his work with the Raiders. He was often the first to show up for work, arriving as early as 5:30 a.m. Since that was before even the coaches arrived, Waymer was given his own key, so he could watch film or work out.
"He wasn't just a defensive back," Campbell said. "He was a football player. If football was played 12 months a year, he would have been in his glory."
Waymer led the 49ers in interceptions with seven in 1990 and had a career total of 48. Only two active players have more.
He played on special teams and passing downs for the Raiders last season.
After playing at Notre Dame, Waymer was selected in the second round of the 1980 draft by New Orleans.
But football wasn't Waymer's only passion. If he didn't have a football in his hands, he had a pair of reins. He loved living on a ranch and owning horses.
"He's still not comfortable with indoor plumbing," a teammate once said of Waymer.
"He was a real cowboy," Campbell said. "He was a great guy. Boy, I'll tell you what, being around him was fun. He had a big smile. He was enthusiastic and funny. He was fun to be around. He would always bring you up when you were running down."
Waymer's death is the latest in a tragic streak involving the Raiders in recent years.
Former defensive linemen Mike Wise and Lyle Alzado both died last year. Wise's death was a suicide and Alzado died of cancer he said was caused by steroid abuse.
Defensive lineman John Matuszak, who succumbed to an overdose of prescription drugs, and defensive back Stacey Toran, killed in a car accident, also were young when they died.
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