Isiah “Butch” Roberston, the All-Pro linebacker who helped the Los Angeles Rams win six straight NFC West titles, died on Thursday after being involved in a three-car crash.
According to a preliminary crash investigation, Robertson, 69, was driving a 2001 Lincoln limousine near Dallas “in the rain at an unsafe speed around a curve” when the vehicle skidded and collided with two other vehicles.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the limousine came to rest partly on the roadway before being struck by a 2003 Ford Ranger, pushing it into the southbound lane of traffic, where it struck a 2018 Hyundai Sonata.
Robertson was taken to an Athens hospital, where he later died. The driver of the Ford Ranger was treated for minor injuries and eventually discharged, and the driver of the Hyundai Sonata was unharmed in the crash.
The former NFL player had reportedly been returning to the House of Isaiah, a drug and alcohol recovery center for men that he founded, after giving a speech at a high school football banquet when the accident occurred, according to the Texas Star-Telegram.
“If you have a setback, you don’t have to take a step back because God’s gonna come back,” he said during the appearance. “I want to tell you, God has a plan for every one of you.”
“After the game, they came back, they came into my house, they drug me to my feet and they took me to a treatment center,” he continued. “But that’s where God touched me at. That’s where I got set free at. And that’s why I give back.”
Staff Lt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety said that the crash remains under investigation.
Following news of his passing, the Rams released a statement on Twitter.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our Legends, Isiah Robertson,” the organization wrote. “He will be remembered not only for the great player he was, helping our team achieve multiple division championships in the ’70s, but also by the work he did helping others through the House of Isaiah recovery center he founded in Texas.”
“Our thoughts are with his family, his friends and his teammates during this difficult time,” the message finished.
Robertson, who was drafted by the Rams in 1971, played 111 games for the team, helping them win six consecutive NFC West titles between 1973-1978 and earning him the accolades of becoming a four-time All-Pro honoree and a six-time Pro Bowler. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 1979 before he retired in 1982. In 2017, Robertson was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame.