Jeff Gladney had just recently signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, but now the 25-year-old NFL cornerback is gone before his time. Gladney and an unnamed female died early Monday in a car crash in Dallas, WFAA reports. Police responded to the downtown scene around 2:30am; they say the vehicle the two were in was speeding and clipped a car ahead of it before the driver lost control, hit the freeway's pier beam, overturned, and went up in flames, ESPN reports. The people in the other vehicle were not injured.
"He was an all-around good kid and his contagious smile is what he was known for," a cousin tells WFAA. "He really loved his son, a lot of young guys are really not into being parents—but he really loved him," she adds of the child who just turned one in February. Gladney was a football star at Texas Christian University and was part of the school's historic draft when it sent 10 players to the NFL in 2020. The league was among many organizations offering condolences: "The NFL family mourns the tragic loss of Jeff Gladney and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones." (Read more NFL stories.)