Glenn Foster, former New Orleans Saints defensive end, is dead at 31, according to reports in local media.
News of the athlete’s death broke Tuesday afternoon, and initial reports indicated only that the 31-year-old died in police custody in Alabama.
But a later report from NOLA.com, citing family members and police sources, claimed that Foster died after getting in a fight in jail, and that he had been arrested following a high-speed car chase in Alabama.
It is not clear how or where exactly Foster died, though medical examiners said he passed away on Monday. The coroner’s office declined to identify the cause of death, citing an ongoing police investigation.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, which administers the county jail where Foster was in custody, referred all questions to the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation, according to reports. That agency had not responded to requests for comment from local media as of Tuesday evening.
Glenn Foster Dead at 31
According to a report from NOLA.com published late Tuesday, police in Reform, Alabama claimed to have seen the 31-year-old NFL alum driving at 90 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone on Saturday. A 100 mile-per-hour chase ensued, authorities said, which only ended after police threw down a spike strip to disable Foster’s car.
Even then, the one-time defensive end allegedly continued the pursuit. He reportedly crashed his car into a “small business” before climbing over a curb and becoming involved in a “small, minor tussle” with police.
No injuries resulted from the brief fight and Foster was arrested at the scene. He was booked in the Pickens County Jail on charges of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, and evasion.
History of Mental Illness Worried Family
Reform Police Chief Richard Black told the website that Foster’s parents spoke “extensively” with him following the 31-year-old’s arrest. The family reportedly told him that Foster had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and that they were concerned about his “erratic behavior.”
Foster’s bond was set at $500, with the condition he be checked into a hospital on release. Black said he met with Foster’s family, who posted the bail, on Sunday. But “something happened” that prevented Foster’s release, the chief said.
“We went to bond him out and something happened at the jail and they wouldn’t let us get him,” Black told reporters. “I really don’t know medically what was going on, but based on what I learned, it was not normal.”
Glenn Foster had been involved in a fight with another inmate and had sustained injuries. He had also been “re-booked” on assault charges stemming from his alleged fight with arresting officers, and was being held without bail on those charges.
His condition reportedly worsened, and he was delcared dead on Monday. Chief Black said he couldn’t comment on the 31-year-old’s death, as Foster was by that time in custody of Pickens County jail officials and the sheriff’s office.
Family of NFL Star Demands Justice
The late NFL star’s family told NOLA they expect to see authorities held responsible for the 31-year-old’s death.
“We want justice for our son,” said his dad, Glenn Foster Sr. “It’s unfair. It’s inhumane. It’s just not right.”
A Chicago native and two-season veteran of the New Orleans Saints, Foster was mourned by public officials and family members Tuesday.
“No words right now,” wrote Illinois state representative Kam Buckner. “Rest Powerfully, Little Brother. From Chicago to Champaign to New Orleans. You left your mark everywhere you went. Glenn Foster, we love you bruh.”
“I really can’t find the words to properly express,” said former teammate Terron Armstead on Twitter Tuesday. “Rest in peace […] you’ll be missed bro!”