(SportsNetwork.com) - Thomas Howard, a linebacker who played five seasons for the Oakland Raiders and who was cut by the Atlanta Falcons last week, died in a car accident early Monday morning on a highway in California, according to reports.
"RIP to a great friend and teammate in Thomas Howard. You will be missed bro," Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, a teammate of Howard's in 2012, tweeted Monday night.
Howard, 30, was one of two people killed after he lost control of his car on Interstate 880, TV station KRON first reported.
Several other media outlets confirmed Howard died in the accident, which the California Highway Patrol said was reported at 12:50 a.m. south of Fifth Ave. in Oakland.
According to reports, Howard was driving a BMW 750Li northbound at a high rate of speed when the car clipped a semi-truck, went airborne and crossed the center median onto southbound 880, where it struck a Chevrolet Monte Carlo and crashed into a Honda CR-V. The driver of the Honda was also killed, according to reports.
Howard was born in Lubbock, Texas, and played four seasons at Texas-El Paso. At 6-foot-3 and around 240 pounds, he was drafted in the second round in 2006 by late Raiders owner Al Davis after running a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.
He played five seasons for the Raiders, starting at least 15 games in each of the first four. In his best NFL season, Howard recorded 95 tackles, one sack and six interceptions in 2007. He returned two of the picks for touchdowns.
Howard played two seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011-12, but missed the last 15 games in 2012 after tearing his ACL during practice. He was signed by the Falcons on Oct. 22 and appeared in two games before they cut him Nov. 12.
In 95 NFL games, Thomas had 492 tackles, six sacks and seven interceptions.