Witnesses say Rob Bironas was enraged moments before his death

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We still don’t know exactly what transpired just before former Titans kicker Rob Bironas died in a single-car accident on Saturday night. But new information gleaned from 911 calls and witness statements raise questions about what was going on with Bironas in the hours before he died.

The Tennessean has obtained 911 calls and statements from witnesses that suggest that Bironas was involved in some kind of road-rage incident with multiple other cars.

A student named Connor Fraley says he was a passenger in a truck that Bironas nearly hit. Fraley says he and the others in the truck smelled something burning coming from Bironas’s SUV and pulled up next to him to alert him to it, and that Bironas replied with an angry threat.

“His window was down, and we pulled up and I said, ‘Hey man, just a heads up, something’s burning from your exhaust. Your exhaust smells horrible, just wanted to let you know,”’ Fraley told the Tennessean. “He looked over at me and said ‘I’m going to kill everybody in your [expletive] vehicle. It was so random, so bizarre I was like, ‘What?’ And he said the exact same thing again.”

In a separate incident, a woman told a 911 dispatcher that another driver — later identified as Bironas — tried to run the vehicle in which she and her and her husband were traveling off the road. That woman thought Bironas might have been drunk, although police say there is no evidence that alcohol played a role in the crash.

He is dangerous, he is drunk or something. He tried to start a fight with us,” the woman said of Bironas on the 911 call. “My husband ran down there to see what is going on. I just want to tell the police there is something wrong with him. He is dangerous, he is drunk or he is on drugs. There is something wrong with him. He gave us a mean look. We don’t even know him, and he tried to run us off the road.”

Bironas died after his SUV hit several trees at around 11 p.m. on Saturday. It is unclear where Bironas was going, but his wife had called police to report him missing. Rachel Bradshaw, the wife of Bironas and daughter of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, said she assumed her husband was in bed asleep at around 10:30 p.m. but called police when she went to their bedroom and found him missing. She said there had been nothing wrong, the couple had not been arguing and it was unusual for him to leave home without saying anything.

The Titans released Bironas this offseason after nine seasons with the team. There had been no reports of anything wrong in Bironas’s life, and he was reportedly eager to continue his NFL career. He had a tryout with the Lions last week.

Bironas, the NFL’s all-time record holder for field goals in a game, was 36.

119 responses to “Witnesses say Rob Bironas was enraged moments before his death

  1. His wife called the police because he was missing. The whole thing is strange. There’s something fishy going on here.

  2. If they ever start linking these recent events to brain injuries the NFL is done.

    RIP Bironas

  3. Sounds like the guy might have had a mental breakdown or something, really sad that he died because of it, wish he could have gotten some help.

  4. That’s just a very very sad story. Seemed like a nice guy that went over the top mentally or something. I’m sure some people drove him nuts which people tend to do sometimes…..

  5. please, for the love of god, if someone has a video of the incident, please acknowledge it and forward it to ESPN immediately! we can’t handle another “cover-up”

  6. “If they ever start linking these recent events to brain injuries the NFL is done.”

    Bironas was a kicker. He probably didn’t have a concussion during his entire career.

  7. being he was a kicker, he probably didn’t have many collisions in career(I’m sure he had some though). linking this to brain injuries would seem more likely if he played a different position. this was either alcohol, drugs, or some sort of manic state. I am aware of people who have been in manic states and it is crazy to even comprehend.

  8. Kickers seem to be an angry bunch. Remember Jeff Reed? But, better to beat up on a paper towel dispenser than a woman.

  9. How many concussions could this guy have had? He was a kicker.. Not a running back or MLB..

    He was probably on something, or had some other mental issues. Time will tell.

  10. “…If they ever start linking these recent events to brain injuries the NFL is done.”

    As he was a kicker, this was unlikely due to head injuries or CTE. But you’re right.

  11. Something about the wife reporting an adult male as missing at 10:30 pm does not make sense….?

  12. What conconcussions?? PTSD really? He’s a kicker, child please. A little danger if and now very rare a kickoff is returned. Fishermen have a more dangerous job than NFL kickers. Maybe put all kickers in a bubble suit where only their kicking leg is exposed. Thinking it was booze and pills…

  13. Real question: do kickers suffer concussions? This feels like a mental break the way it happened so quickly and without inciting incident. Or, all the info isn’t being released.

  14. Driving an SUV in an urban area is an indication of something disturbing.

    Nobody asked what movie he sat through with the wife and female friend. There are some movies are oriented to a female audience that can drive men crazy. He was agitated and wanted to escape something.
    At this point we are left to guess but if the movie was something that would be shown on Lifetime or the Hallmark channel, I think we will know much more.

  15. The guy was a kicker who never got hit. What are you dopes talking about concussion lawsuit for?

  16. because it’s completely normal and common when you are annoyed with someone you know’s behavior that you go out and try to kill random strangers on the road….

    As far as brain injuries…he was a kicker, fella.

    Not a lot of good deep analysis in this thread so far.

  17. I once knew a guy who had crazy mood swings like that, turned out he and a brain tumor….Don’t know anything about this situation, but I hope they do a thorough autopsy and get to the bottom of what’s become a bizarre and tragic story.

  18. Agree with the comment below. If she found him missing at 10:30 pm and his accident was around 11:00. She would have almost immediately called police. Most would call his cell or friends first, after looking through the home and realizing his car was gone — unless there are other pieces to this story. The reported rage does not fit with someone who may have been in bed sleeping. Nor does it sound like his accident was a result of another vehicle, when he just went off the road and hit trees.

    Something about the wife reporting an adult male as missing at 10:30 pm does not make sense….?

  19. There are documented cases of people taking Ambien and doing horrible things without knowing it. Getting out of bed and getting behind the wheel with road rage has been one of those documented cases. So it’s not out of the question…

  20. I’d think the only reason she’d call the police when finding him missing at 10:30 at night is if she had reason to believe he was in no condition to be driving, and thought he could be a danger to himself or others. Like possibly he’d been drinking all day and went and passed out.

  21. I’m leaning toward the Ambien theory, though with the wife calling at 10:30 to report him missing keeps me from leaning too far and blaming that nasty sleep medication. I’m also wondering if the weird smell coming from the exhaust pipe had something to do with this inexplicable behavior. I’m also wondering if he purposely drove off the road and into the trees. Truly, this is a very weird story. I’m sorry a woman had to lose her husband this way, but I’m glad he didn’t kill or injure those he encountered that night. Life in America just gets stranger and stranger with each passing day.

  22. We’re all just a moment of uncontrolled rage from being on the other side of this story.

    Even people very good at controlling their emotions can have a breakdown and go nuts for a brief time.

    And who knows if drugs / alcohol played a part in this yet. Its certainly a tough thing mentally to go from being in front of thousands of people every week playing to being retired and possibly not knowing what to do with yourself.

    On the other hand between the money he made in the league and the fact that his wife is Terry Bradshaw’s daughter who must have a good amount of money herself, I can’t imagine he was under financial strain. He most likely had a very good life to look forwards to which makes this even more bizarre.

  23. I wonder if the fumes from the strange smelling exhaust were leaking into the cabin and affecting his judgment.

  24. His wife reporting him missing within a few minutes of not being able to find him at home. That right there is fishy. I think a lot more is going to come out on this….

  25. threads like this re-affirm my suspicion that this place is populated by 12 year olds and 35 year old frat boys. Surely, you are not all that completely stupid?

  26. It’s become clearly obvious that all NFL players are ticking timebombs and are a serious threat to society. Maybe there is something to this head injury thing as Rob was clearly acting abnormally out of his mind. Rest in peace, RB!

  27. I remember a game several years ago, when a player tried to hurdle him, and kicked him right in the head. Not intentionally though.

  28. I’m sure that ESPN and TMZ are all over this one. The owner of the Titans is surely hiding something. Goodell must have known something months ago. Robert Mueller will add this to his investigation of the Ravens. Ray Rice is a bad influence on kickers. Ray Lewis got away with something………

  29. Ambien was my first thought when I read that his wife thought he was in bed asleep.

    Bad, BAD stuff that Ambien. It should be outlawed.

  30. Definitely back the Ambien theory. My friend who had not been drinking took an Ambien and woke up in his neighbor’s house on their living room couch. Walked over with no memory of it.

  31. Sounds like he had some issues he never sought help for like Titus Young who went off after plenty of warnings. Sad to hear he died. A wife and kids lost their Father.

  32. Unless its a vulnerable adult or child, most police won’t even take a missing persons report until they have been missing for 24 hrs. Yes, something is fishy. My guess…
    1. Psychotic break. Not likely but possible. Typically there would have been other issues prior to this and it doesn’t appear there were.
    2. Something in his system. Ambien, steroids, illicit drugs, etc.
    3. A domestic issue with wife. Again, not likely and she is denying it, but possible.

    So, it was probably some combination of all three or more…

  33. Her story doesn’t make any sense.

    Why didn’t Rachel Bradshaw just call Rob’s cel phone like every other normal person after she found out he wasn’t at home, rather than involve the police department to report him missing?

    If someone is spouse is gone for an hour and a half, you call the cops?

    That is not normal.

  34. Very strange, the Ambien theory makes sense I guess but the only person who has info that can solve this case is his wife.

  35. We finally will get Terry Bradshaw off of TV. It will come out the wife is involve. Married less than a year. News will follow. Don’t know how long but it is coming

  36. Ambien + depression = disaster

    Dude was depressed about life outside the NFL, took Ambien to sleep and lost his mind. Its not uncommon. thats why they say not to take it if you have signs of depression or suicide.

  37. Where are all those posters who were calling him a great guy before hearing even one detail about the events?

  38. Bironas was a kicker, the chances of him being cracked in the dome on the field are so slim, it’s not even funny.
    This wasn’t a concussion episode, this was a guy who went off the deep end…

    On a side note; when does a guy’s wife call the police to report him missing because he’s not tucked in at 11:00?
    Something is really weird about this whole story and nobody is filling in all the blanks.

  39. I am with you guys on the Ambien, I stopped taking it because it made me sleepwalk and act weird. This sounds like Ambien. He probably thought he was dreaming. I have heard of people going to the grocery store, coming home and not even knowing it. Weird

  40. I love the idiots who go to rip on a guy or yell “something’s fishy!” because they can’t be bothered to click on a bloody link that’s in the story itself. From the linked story:

    “She tried to call him and when she could not reach him she called relatives. No one had talked with him so she called police.”

    She DID try to call him and check on relatives. So she goes to check on a guy, he’s not in bed where he said he was going, he’s not answering his cell, and no one knows where he is. At that point, yeah, the proper thing to do is call the police. Sorry to all you who think otherwise, but it is. Oh sure, maybe he was just fine going out to sneak around and do something without her knowing. But you don’t do that to someone you love. You don’t leave them hanging, worried. And she couldn’t take the risk that maybe something had happened to him.

    The police report states the evening went something like this:

    Bironas, his wife, and a female friend were watching a movie. He didn’t drink or take anything, and was acting normal. At around 10:30 he said “goodnight.” After a few minutes, she went around the house and couldn’t find him. She tried calling him multiple times, then called relatives and friends to see if anyone knew where he was. No one had any contact with him, he never went out without telling her, he wasn’t answering his phone, and he wasn’t in the house. So, at that point, she called the police, concerned.

    And that is exactly what you should do. God help your spouses if they go missing, because apparently some of you think you should just ignore it until they come home or turn up in the morgue.

    I do want to know what “other events transpired” that are mentioned in the police report, but it says “see related incident number” rather than saying anything about them. Though that might be a reference to finding out that while he was there at the house “investigating,” Bironas ended up wrecking his vehicle, which would be a “related incident.”

  41. He was undoubtedly a nice guy and very well respect for the Titans. Hate to say it, but when Wiz cut him – this is what caused his death I believe.

  42. Thank-you kaptingavrin for putting the brakes on the wild speculation going on here. Poor dude lost his life and everyone here is second guessing what transpired based on a few news stories. God Bless the family and may he rest in peace.

  43. Speculation and seeking answers isn’t necessarily disrespectful if those answers prevent someone else from injuring themselves under the same circumstances (ie, misuse of Ambien).

  44. If you think your spouse went to bed, go in the bedroom and it’s empty and then try to call your spouses cell phone and get no response I’d hope you’d have enough working brain cells to figure out something is wrong and do something like call the cops before your spouse can get him/herself killed because something like Ambient driving.

  45. Seems everybody is taking the word of these people without question when the guy they’re slandering isn’t around to give his side of it.

  46. Not trying to be funny here, but there were a couple of kicker moves recently (Eagles signed Parkey, then cut Alex Henery, who signed with Detroit). Bironas may or may not have been considered for either team.

    Rob Bironas, a guy who could still kick, was likely waiting for a call that never came. That rejection stress may have been a triggering event – “proof” that his career was over.

  47. OK, couldn’t read ALL the comments, but to the folks that think kickers don’t get concussions…..have you seen these guys try to tackle. They go low, very easy to take a knee to the helmet very easy. And lets not forget, he may not have been a kicker in high school. Who knows if he had had concussions back then.
    Did the Lions call him and tell him he didn’t get the job earlier in the day that could have made him snap?? Very strange story.

  48. I never understood why police won’t investigate a missing person unless they are missing for 24 hours. Especially since the first 48 hours are the most important in finding a missing person.

    Prayers out to his family and loved ones. This is a horrible tragedy to cope with.

  49. Regarding the “brain injury” comment there is no reason a kicker should be having a Brian injuriy issues. NFL is not done more will it ever be done. Please tell me how many kickers have had concussions as a result from kicking the ball. Get real. He probably had a mental health condition existing already.

    R.I.P rob.

  50. I would figure a tox report will reveal if he had something in his system. Surely he didn’t take something to get some led in his pencil prior to working out for the the lions. He would have more than likely have to have a drug test prior to signing. Does roid rage fit?

    I take ambien, it doesn’t work very well on me or maybe I’m out partying all night and don’t realize it. But my first thought when reading the article was all the bazaar stories of sleep driving.

    The exhaust issue may have been a result of him damaging the vehicle prior to the witnesses that claim to have tried to warn him. Maybe he had already ran off the road or had been run off the road thus angering him.

    Maybe the guy was bi-polar and didn’t know it. That fits probably better than sleep driving.

  51. PFT – please right-justify the Report Comment link.

    There’s a new fad in technology called smartphones. These devices have “touch screens”. People use their fingers to touch the screen and the touch interacts with the phone, somewhat similar to a mouse click.
    Some of us are lazy and don’t want to sue men like crazy to ensure that we press on the thumbs up or thumbs down properly and inadvertently pressed the report button. Anyways, I get the feeling that I’m not the only person who accidentally presses the report comment link.

    So, yeah, we all know of the inconsistencies in the comments approval process but if it’s not fixed we’re going to have to rely on TMZ.

    PFT Buttfumble.

  52. It reeks of suicide.
    My thought is that Bironas was likely suffering from severe depression because his playing days were over and he felt unwanted.

  53. honeybadger14 says:
    Sep 23, 2014 2:06 PM
    If they ever start linking these recent events to brain injuries the NFL is done.

    RIP Bironas

    Yeah because kickers always take blows to the head…

  54. 1. Everyone who says, “he’s a kicker therefore no concussions,” have forgotten how many times kickers run headlong right into the fray to make a tackle. Head trauma may be a long shot, but kickers do get involved on special teams defense.
    2. I’ll still put my money on Ambien or some sort of sleep disorder.

  55. I remember when I first heard of him it was a time when he kicked 6 FGs in one game…and he started the trend of all these kickers being nearly automatic from 50 plus …well it seemed like anyways..some nice NFL memories ..RIP Mr Bironas

  56. My money is on Ambien. That drug has a history of causing people to drive while asleep. Poor Rob probably never knew what happened.

  57. Either his wife was lying and got into a fight with him about divorcing him and taking all of his money OR he was on drugs and had some serious psychological problems. Either way, RIP.

  58. Driving crazy.. Probably. Going on the road with intention kill someone else, very unlikely. It’s fairly easy to run your car into another. It was suicide car crash, insurance pays out for deaths in vehicles. Not suicide.

    What led to this will more than likely never be known by the Sheeps, and only maybe by the family.

  59. Lemme see, a once highly prized NFL kicker has to spend a Saturday Night without that pre-game jitters and adreneline rush in prep for tomorrow’s game. Your 30ish foot just got a hair too slow now nobody will talk to you.

    You’re just there, home with your wife pressuring you to do something and all you want to to is the only thing you know how to do: Kick.

    You got no job, no real job prospects except for a prayer. Bills are due. Wife is tired of you laying around. You can’t believe you’re now just a has been NFL kicker!

    So, you just get so frustrated and angry you find something that will amp you up and then walk out that door to find some way to release everything’s that churning inside of you.

  60. “bobnelsonjr says:
    Sep 23, 2014 2:25 PM
    Driving an SUV in an urban area is an indication of something disturbing.”

    That’s the most McGillicutty nerdball statement I’ve heard in a long time.

  61. I don’t think a lot of people that are ruling out concussions simply based on the fact that he is a kicker and thus, “…couldn’t have taken many hits….” and therefore must be perfectly fine probably don’t know a whole lot about concussions.

    If kickers don’t get any contact, why are there penalties for running into and roughing the kicker?

    It doesn’t matter if you get hit 1 time or 100 times. If the hit is just right, it can cause a concussion. Any time you have any accident (diving head first into first base, like former Baltimore Orioles 2B Brian Roberts who didn’t even hit his head on the play, a car accident, a slip and fall) that involves you hitting your head against something, you run the risk of getting a concussion. This is why they eliminated the head slap move that defensive linemen used to be able to use.

    I personally don’t think this had anything to do with a concussion related injury, but let’s not completely dismiss the notion that just because he’s a kicker he couldn’t get a concussion. ANY football player could get a concussion, regardless of position.

    I’m not going to speculate about what the cause was. But the details that are coming out make it certainly seem strange. It is a shame whatever it was cost this man his life.

  62. purpleguy says:
    Sep 23, 2014 4:41 PM
    Speculation and seeking answers isn’t necessarily disrespectful if those answers prevent someone else from injuring themselves under the same circumstances (ie, misuse of Ambien).
    Sorry purpleguy, but you’re wrong. Speculation is disrespectful. Put a lid on it until the truth is reached.

  63. blingslade says:
    Sep 23, 2014 7:05 PM

    Based on your disgusting post, perhaps you’re the one with psychological issues?

  64. Okay, we’re now at the point where were assuming every tragic incident with and NFL player is concussion related..no matter how obvious it’s a drug induced rage incident like this Rob Bironas incident.

  65. The smell coming from his car that was mentioned could have been because the emergency brake was still on?.. causing parts of the engine to overheat/overwork?

    This could go with the Ambien theory, as being under something like that might cause you to drive without taking the emergency brake off.

  66. Bironas was a great kicker in the NFL, and for some reason, he was cut by Tennessee, and for some other reason, the rest of the league seemed to forget he existed. He had a tryout with the Lions last week, and he probably lost it after he found out that they weren’t going to sign him. He may have felt like that was his only chance to get back in the league, and they rejected him.

    If you think the wife was involved, did you ever think maybe she tried calling him a dozen times and he wouldn’t answer? And maybe she tried calling other people who hadn’t heard from him either? My God people, think it all the way through first.

    And as far as the burning smell from his car…maybe he was driving and accelerating so darn fast that his engine was becoming exhausted and created that smell? Witnesses say he was trying to run people off the road. He was probably driving like a maniac. And maybe the accident happened because his engine gave out after so much exhaust?

    RIP Bironas, Tennessee’s greatest player over the past 10 years.

  67. All this talk of concussion and brain injury, but he was a kicker. He might have gotten hit a time or two but it would have been a lot less than other players.

  68. It is not just the NFL. He played in college, maybe high school, middle school, pop warner, and other sports or athletic activities. For some reason the NFL is the concussion escape goat.

  69. Am I missing something? When did ambien come into play? I haven’t really looked into this story too much but I haven’t seen anything about ambien.

    Either way the whole story is definitely a little weird. His wife reporting him missing so soon, Rob suppose to have been in bed asleep but randomly missing at 1030 pm, the whole report of him being in such short rage… It’s all pretty put there and very odd.

    If he was taking ambien, that could explain a lot of this. When taking ambien, you’re supposed to get into bed immediately and go to sleep. Staying awake can cause hallucinations, sometimes very extreme ones!

    It’s definitely a very sad story either way! I hate to hear stories like this! Rob is actually my starting Kicker of my team in Madden Ultimate Team right now, oddly enough. Looks like Ill be keeping it that way for awhile! R.I.P. Rob Bironas!!

  70. This reminds me so much of Colin Finnerty’s death. Though his sudden personality change manifested itself in a different manner, in both cases it could be said they ‘snapped’ for no readily apparent reason.

    Finnerty was found to have CTE even though he only played a handful of games in the pros. High school and college ball caused significant brain damage.

    You have to wonder if this isn’t going to turn out to be CTE as well.

  71. What’s the deal with all the commenters saying he seemed like such a nice guy? Did any of you know the guy other than what he presented to the tv cameras and reporters? People can be really gullible when it comes to pro athletes

  72. My theory:

    Whether drugs (Ambien) or a mental/psychotic breakdown, I think the wife knew something was wrong. Maybe she attempted to confront him as he was leaving, or maybe she called and spoke to him after he left – either way, she probably quickly realized he was not himself and appeared to be experiencing a delusion.

    At this point, she decides to call the cops. This would explain why she didn’t call friends – he wasn’t “missing.” She knew he left, but she also knew something was wrong and he did not appear to be in his right mind. She needed to involve the authorities before he hurt himself or someone else. (As an aside, she very well could have called friends/family too. We don’t know that she didn’t.)

    Anyway, that’s my theory. Whether drugs or a psychotic break, I think she knew he was experiencing a delusion, and that’s why she called the cops to report him “missing.”

  73. His wife says in one version of stories that she ‘said goodnight and he went to bed’ but yet in the 911 call I just heard her say that ‘I turned around and he just left in his white SUV and drove off’

    There are inconsistencies in her story. Something is going on here.

  74. Was there a 60 Minutes special on Ambien after the games Sunday or something? 100 people on here certain the guy took a sleeping pill then flipped out.

  75. What an odd story of events and the way in which they happened. I agree it sounds like an ambien episode.

  76. davidtmp says:
    Sep 23, 2014 5:12 PM
    Did the Lions call him and tell him he didn’t get the job earlier in the day that could have made him snap?? Very strange story.

    Well, Bironas died before the Lions had released Nate Freese, so the job wasn’t even open at that point. However, it’s possible they had called and told him he wasn’t still an option. We’ll probably never know.

  77. Given the facts known thus far, I still say the wife knows more than she’s imparting. Something else led her to worry and think he stepped out for a bad reason. Did he have a drug problem?

  78. shakabraddah777 says:
    Sep 23, 2014 7:53 PM
    The smell coming from his car that was mentioned could have been because the emergency brake was still on?.. causing parts of the engine to overheat/overwork?

    This could go with the Ambien theory, as being under something like that might cause you to drive without taking the emergency brake off.

    And that might be why the car crashed.

  79. So many people calling out the wife as “suspicious” for calling the police. I’m not sure I understand those questioning her for calling the police after only a short time missing.

    If I’m in the house all night and don’t mention to my wife that I may leave…. if I leave without saying anything to her, she’s going to get concerned quickly. If she thinks I’m in bed and all of a sudden my car is missing and I didn’t say a word to her about leaving…. she’s going to get concerned quickly. This would be highly unusual behavior for me, and it’s quite possible it was highly unusual behavior for Rob Bironas too.

    I don’t find it the least bit suspicious that his wife called the police right away. I’m sure she tried to call his phone first and when he didn’t answer, she got very concerned and reacted. Nothing suspicious about that to me… my wife would have done the exact same thing.

  80. When all of the smoke and mirrors settle I’ll bet he caught his wife with another man. That’s why he took off and was pissed off at the world. She’s just trying to cover up why he was enraged. No one calls the cops that soon after unexpectantly noticing their spouse missing… No one.

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