The National Institute of Health will be getting a large donation from a Denver area family after they sold Rashaan Salaam’s 1994 Heisman Trophy at SCP Auctions Saturday night for $399,608. It’s the most money ever paid for a Heisman. The price topped the 2005 sale of the 1941 Heisman given to Bruce P. Smith.
Tyler Tysdal had purchased the trophy from a dealer who had bought it privately from the former Colorado running back in 2013. With the urging of his daughters, Tysdal pledged his profit from the sale to the National Institutes of Health to support research on brain injuries and CTE. Salaam shot himself to death in a Denver park a little over a year ago after struggling with depression. His brother has said Salaam had symptoms of CTE.
“It’s our hope that people will be inspired to donate to CTE research so we can identify and treat those athletes already suffering from brain injuries and prevent these injuries in the future,” Tysdal said.
Salaam ran for over 2,000 yards at Colorado in 1994 before being selected by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft. His pro career was cut short by a series of knee and ankle injuries.
Other Heisman trophies known to have been sold include Larry Kelley’s 1936 trophy for $328,100 (1999); O.J. Simpson’s 1968 trophy for $255,000 (1999);; Charlie White’s 1979 trophy for $293,750 (2006); and Paul Hornung’s duplicate 1956 trophy for $250,000 in 2000. Two other Heisman awards have reportedly been sold in private sales under confidentially agreements with the trophy owners. Recently, winners have been forced to sign a legal document promising not to sell their award.
Bidding for Salaam’s award began at $45,000 on January 8. Twenty-four bids were placed before the end of the auction.