The wife of former NFL wide receiver and University of Colorado star Charles Johnson reported him missing the day before he was found dead in a hotel room about 6.5 miles from his house in Raleigh, North Carolina, on July 17, according to police records obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
The suspected cause of his death is not publicly known. Police are still investigating and said there were no signs of foul play.
Johnson died at age 50 after a nine-year career in the NFL, which included being a member of the New England Patriots when they won the Super Bowl in February 2002. Johnson, a first-round NFL draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1994, recently had worked as an assistant athletic director at Heritage High in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Raleigh police said on July 17, at approximately 1:25 PM, officers responded to a call for a welfare check at a local Hampton Inn after an occupant had not checked out of the room.
“Hotel staff and RPD officers responded and located a deceased subject in the room,” Raleigh police said. “The preliminary investigation indicates there were no signs of foul play. It is still an open and ongoing death investigation.”
Raleigh police also confirmed Johnson was reported missing on July 16.
Johnson, a native of San Bernardino, California, is survived by his wife, son and daughter. CU said in a news release about his death that the family is honoring Johnson’s request for no public funeral or memorial.
One of Johnson’s best seasons in the NFL came in 1996 with Pittsburgh, where he played with his college quarterback, Kordell Stewart. Johnson caught 60 passes that season for 1,008 yards and three touchdowns.
“Words simply can’t explain or identify who C.J. was to many,” Stewart said in CU’s news release about Johnson. “I’m not sure how to process this properly – we’ve been friends for over 30 years – but just know C.J. will be missed. My heart goes out to Tanisha (his wife), their kids and family. May God bless them and keep them during these trying times.”
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org