Its a sad day in Miner nation as reports are surfacing that former Miner Thomas Howard has died. According to the reports, Howard was driving his BMW 750 LI in excess of 100 mph outside of Oakland, CA when he lost control and struck the back of a semi truck.
The vehicle was then launched over the median where it impacted two other cars. The driver of the second vehicle it impacted, a 55 year old man, was also pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other car was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Thomas Howard was a standout linebacker for the Miners from 2002-2005. After starting his career as a walk-on, Howard eventually bloomed into a all conference player, and even helped lead the Miners back to their first bowl since 2001.
UTEP Athletics Director Bob Stull said this in a statement released by the university:
"It is very shocking and sad. His story was inspiring. He came here as a walk-on defensive back and through dedication developed into one of the greatest linebackers in school history...[Howard] was always eager to give back to UTEP. He was a superb alum and friend of the university. Its just hard to believe that he's gone. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
He was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders, and recorded nearly 500 tackles in his 8 year NFL career. Howard also spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, and most recently the Atlanta Falcons.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Howard's family and friends.