By Theo DeRosa
At around 11 p.m. Central Time, Bironas lost control of his SUV, which left the road, hitting several trees before landing upside-down. Alcohol was determined to have had no role whatsoever in the crash. Bironas was pronounced dead upon arrival at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
On the night of Monday, September 22, an unidentified woman spoke in a 911 call from the accident scene, saying that Bironas had tried to run her and her husband off the road. She described the driver of the white SUV (Bironas’) as “dangerous…drunk or something.” She stated that the SUV, after attempting to merge into her lane, fell in line behind her car, revving its engine at the stoplight of Franklin and Battery. She allowed the SUV to pass, and soon came upon the one-car accident scene.
The next day, Tuesday, allegations were raised that Bironas had told Belmont University students at a Franklin Road intersection that he would sideswipe their truck and kill them. Twenty-year-old Connor Fraley had noticed a burning smell emanating from Bironas’ SUV. Fraley, a passenger, warned Bironas through the open window that “something’s burning from your exhaust,” to which Bironas allegedly replied, “I’m going to kill everyone in your (expletive) vehicle,” something of a non sequitur. Fraley spent most of the incident on the phone with a 911 dispatcher.
Fraley’s driver, identified only as “Spencer,” sped up to get away from Bironas, who sped up in turn, attempting to sideswipe the vehicle and just narrowly missing. Following an apparent high-speed chase (Fraley claims up to 110 miles per hour) that continued through residential side streets, the students finally shook Bironas, who went on to crash a few minutes later. When Fraley’s roommate texted him a picture of Bironas, Fraley recognized the driver from the night before.
Rachel Bradshaw, the daughter of Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, had married Bironas in June. She reported her husband missing when he suddenly left the house without explanation around 10:30, near the time Fraley reported his incident.
Released in March by the Titans after totaling 1,032 career points and a team-high 60-yard field goal in 2006 against Indianapolis, Bironas amassed 11 game-winning kicks over an illustrious nine-season career. Known for his charitable exploits, his Rob Bironas Fund aimed to raise support for children in central Tennessee.
The NFL mourns the loss of Bironas. “We are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news from last night about Rob Bironas….Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Rachel, and his family during this very difficult time,” said a spokesman for the Titans.
Bironas’ sudden passing is still shrouded in mystery. Hopefully some light can soon be shed on what truly transpired.