San Francisco’s KRON reported earlier today
that ex-Atlanta Falcons linebacker Thomas Howard, 30, was killed early Monday morning in a fatal car crash. Howard was released by the Falcons last week in a roster move
to clear room for Sean Weatherspoon’s return from injured reserve. Howard had been signed by the team in late October
, and spent three weeks with them before being released.
Per KRON’s report, Howard was one of two victims in a high-speed crash on I-880 outside Oakland, CA that occurred shortly before 1 am PT according to the Contra Costa Times. Howard was reportedly heading northbound, driving in excess of 100 mph in his BMW when he lost control of his vehicle, struck a semi-truck and went over the center median into the southbound lanes. There he struck a Chevrolet sedan and a Honda CR-V. Both Howard and the elderly driver (conflicting reports indicate he was either 55 or 65 years old) of the Honda were killed and pronounced dead at the scene, while the 42-year old driver of the Chevrolet was transported to a local hospital to receive treatment.
Howard was a second-generation NFL player and entered the league as a second round pick with the Oakland Raiders in 2006. Howard played five seasons with the Raiders before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011. Hiss father, Thomas Howard Sr., played nine seasons in the NFL in the late 1970s and 80s with the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals.
To make room for the return of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, the Falcons waived linebacker Thomas Howard today. Weatherspoon was placed on short-term injured reserve in September, and is eligible to return to the roster. He began practicing last week for the first time and is slated to return on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Howard was signed by the Falcons three weeks ago when the team released Jamar Chaney. Chaney was one of two signings, alongside Omar Gaither, made when Weatherspoon was first injured. Howard had appeared in two games with the Falcons, playing exclusively on special teams.
The Atlanta Falcons signed free agent linebacker Thomas Howard today to replace linebacker Jamar Chaney, who the team cut. They also signed safety Sean Baker to the practice squad to replace wide receiver Darius Johnson, who was promoted to the active roster on Saturday. Chaney was first signed by the team in September after the injury to linebacker Sean Weatherspoon that landed him on the short-term injured reserve.
Howard went unsigned as a free agent this past summer, as he was recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered at the outset of the 2012 season with the Cincinnati Bengals. Howard first joined the Bengals following the lockout in 2011 after five seasons with the Oakland Raiders, including four as a starter at weakside linebacker. Howard was originally drafted in the second round by the Raiders out of Texas Tech in 2006. For his career, he has started 78 games and recorded 492 tackles, 6 sacks, 7 interceptions, and 6 forced fumbles. His father, Thomas Howard Sr., played nine seasons in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs (1977-83) and St. Louis Cardinals (1984-85).
Baker is a first-year safety that was originally an undrafted free agent out of Ball State with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. He was cut at the end of camp, but later re-signed at the end of the season to the Bucs’ practice squad. He spent this past summer in Tampa Bay’s training camp before getting released again. He was a four-year starter at Ball State and a two-time All-MAC honoree. He finished his career as the school’s all-time career interception leader with 18. Also added 338 career tackles, 39 pass breakups, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 defensive touchdowns.