DALLAS (AP) — A former Iowa State football player was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds this week in his East Texas home, a police official said Friday.
The body of 28-year-old Jason Thomas Berryman was found Wednesday by family members who were visiting a relative living nearby, Jefferson Police Chief Joe C. Hall said. Hall said no suspects have been identified.
“We’re running down several leads, but we don’t have anything we’re ready to talk about yet,” Hall said.
Berryman’s career for the Cyclones was marked by stellar play but off-field arrests and jail time. The police chief said that in Jefferson, about 160 miles east of Dallas, Berryman “was a person that we were all familiar with” because of his police run-ins and the familiarity of a small town.
Berryman played during the 2003 and 2005 seasons at Iowa State before he was dismissed from the team. In 2003, during his freshman year, he was the Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year and an All-Big 12 honorable mention. The defensive end recorded 110 tackles along with three sacks, and was named a freshman All-American.
He was named top defensive player of the Houston Bowl in 2005, said Mike Green, spokesman for the university’s athletic department. Berryman had 72 tackles that year and led the team with 7½ sacks.
“He was a difference maker on defense, and I know that he’s going to be missed by the Cyclone family,” Green said. “It’s just a horrible tragedy what happened.”
Berryman was convicted of first-degree theft and assault causing injury in 2004. He had punched a fellow student and robbed him of $4, then took a cell phone from another student. He spent about eight months in jail.
His incarceration caused him to miss his sophomore season, but he was invited to rejoin the program after expressing regret for his actions. He eventually was dropped for good after violating the team’s probationary terms.
Berryman later signed a two-year contract with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals but was waived in 2007. He also played for the Iowa Barnstormers, a professional arena football team.
He was arrested again in 2008 at an apartment in Ames, Iowa, on charges of contempt of court and possession of a controlled substance.
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