Don Rogers (safety)
No. 20     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1962-09-17)September 17, 1962
Place of birth: Texarkana, Arkansas
Date of death: June 27, 1986(1986-06-27) (aged 23)
Place of death: Sacramento, California
Career information
College: UCLA
NFL Draft: 1984 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Cleveland Browns ( 1984)
Career highlights and awards
Games     31
Sacks     0.0
Interceptions     2
Fumbles     0

Donald Lavert Rogers (September 17, 1962 – June 27, 1986) was an American college and professional football player who was a safety in the National Football League (NFL) for two seasons during the mid-1980s. Rogers played college football for the University of California, Los Angeles, and was recognized as an All-American. He played professionally for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, but his career was cut short when he died of a heart attack caused by cocaine use in 1986.

Early yearsEdit

Rogers was born in Texarkana, Arkansas. He graduated from Norte Del Rio High School in Sacramento, California in 1980, where he excelled in football, basketball, and baseball, and garnered All-City honors in all three sports. His brother Reggie Rogers also played in the NFL.

College careerEdit

He attended UCLA, where he played for the UCLA Bruins football team. Rogers was Co-Player of the Game in the 1983 Rose Bowl for the Bruins, along with quarterback Tom Ramsey. He also tied a Rose Bowl record in the 1984 Rose Bowl when he snared two interceptions from Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Jack Trudeau.

Professional careerEdit

Don Rogers was selected in the first round with the 18th pick of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He played two seasons with the Browns from 1984 to 1985, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie season[citation needed].


Rogers died of a heart attack caused by a cocaine overdose[1] the day before his wedding.[2] He died only eight days after Len Bias, an NBA draft pick who also died of cocaine abuse, starting a national discussion about the relationship between drugs and athletes.


  1. Rogers' death is a second warning
  2. Kardiac kids: the story of the 1980 Cleveland Browns By Jonathan Knight. Kent State University Press. p. 275


  • Harvey, Sean D. (2007). One Moment Changes Everything: The All-America Tragedy of Don Rogers. Sports Publishing, Inc.. ISBN 1-59670-231-1.


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