Cowboys RB dead at age 23

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 12, 2003

DALLAS - Dallas Cowboys running back Ennis Haywood died Sunday, a day after being placed on life support with an undisclosed illness. He was 23.

Haywood died at Medical Center of Arlington, hospital spokeswoman Diane Stout said.

''The cause of death at this time is unknown,'' she told The Associated Press. She said she doesn't know what Haywood was being treated for.

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Haywood was taken to the hospital early Saturday after waking up feeling ill and vomiting, Iowa State director of media relations Tom Kroeschell told the AP on Sunday. Kroeschell said he got the information about the former Cyclones player from the school's football coach, Dan McCarney.

Haywood participated in the Cowboys' three-day minicamp last week and was expected to compete for a roster spot at halfback.

''This is a time to offer support and deepest sympathy to the family,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. ''Our hearts go out to them. This is a tragedy involving a person who was very well-liked and respected by anyone who had the opportunity to know him.''

Haywood, an undrafted free agent, was on the Cowboys' practice squad last season. He led the team in rushing in the preseason with 120 yards on 31 carries.

Haywood ranks fifth in career rushing at Iowa State with 2,862 yards, and sixth in touchdowns with 27. As a senior, he ran for 1,169 yards and 14 touchdowns to lead the Big 12.

''Like everyone in the Cyclones' football family, we are shocked and saddened beyond words,'' McCarney said Sunday. ''Ennis was one of the classiest gentlemen there has ever been, on and off the field. He was an unbelievable competitor, and one of the most tenacious football players I've ever been around.''

The Dallas Morning News first reported that Haywood was hospitalized in its Sunday editions. The newspaper said Haywood remained on life support late Saturday and that he had stopped breathing early Saturday.