A former UTEP Miner has died in Oakland California.

Thomas Howard was a 2001 walk on for UTEP who would eventually become one of the greatest linebackers in UTEP footballs history before going pro.

After UTEP, Howard went on to play for The Oakland Raiders, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Falcons.  (He was released from The Falcons Tuesday.)  The car he was in was traveling at over 100 mph when it hit a semi truck from behind and was flung into oncoming traffic where it collided with multiple other vehicles.  Howard was not driving.

Originally a safety, Howard had almost 300 tackles in his 48 games as a Miner. He was ranked third in UTEP football history for tackles resulting in losses and tied for 7th place in sacks.  According to former Miner Coach Mike Price;

"He was so wonderful." "For being a star, he was just a regular guy. He loved El Paso, he came back and gave back to the school and to the community. He was a wonderful person, a wonderful person.

"He was an inspiration, just an inspiration. Everyone loved him. He was gracious, honest, he never got in trouble. He was in inspiration for everybody.

"We lost a great Miner."