The sporting world is mourning the loss of a great football player, on and off the field. Isiah “Butch” Robertson, an All-Pro linebacker who spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, passed away at the age of 69 in a limousine accident on Thursday.
His former team confirmed the news, and the NFL reported that Robertson was behind the wheel of a limo near Mabank, Texas, when he skidded on the wet road and collided with two other vehicles in the fatal crash.
Lt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety told the NFL that Robertson was allegedly driving at “an unsafe speed around a curve” before he came to a “rest partially in the roadway.” At that point, a truck hit Robertson’s limo, causing the vehicle to slide into oncoming traffic, before getting slammed by another vehicle.
Robertson was rushed to an Athens hospital where he later died. The truck driver was reportedly treated for minor injuries before being discharged, while the other driver was not hurt, KTLA reports.
The fatal accident happened shortly after Robertson appeared at a high school football banquet, and the scene is just miles from the House of Isaiah, a men’s drug and alcohol recovery center founded by the former footballer.
Robertson often shared his recovery story, as reported by the Texas Star-Telegram, which captured his final speech at the banquet in which he reiterated the importance of giving back and helping others.
“If you have a setback, you don’t have to take a step back because God’s gonna come back,” he said, just hours before the fatal crash. “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 told the audience. “But that’s where God touched me at. That’s where I got set free at. And that’s why I give back.”
Following the heartbreaking news, the Rams released a statement on Twitter about Robertson, who played for the team from 1971-1978, and his commitment to “helping others.”
“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.”
After being drafted by the Rams in 1971, Robertson played in 111 games for the team as they took home six consecutive NFC West titles between 1973-1978, according to the NFL. The four-time All-Pro honoree and six-time Pro Bowler was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 1979, where he played until his retirement following the 1982 season.
Robertson was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2017.