Teammates saw Dimitrius Underwood as a young defensive end with great promise. His latest suicide attempt has left them shocked and saddened.
Police said Underwood, 23, tried to end his life by twice running into traffic. One motorist said the Dallas Cowboys’ lineman told him he “wanted to go to Jesus.”
“It’s very shocking to me,” said defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban, Underwood’s roommate on the road this season. “I called him, but obviously he didn’t call me back. I just wanted to make sure that he was well.
“I feel bad for his family because they’re the ones who have known him his whole life and they’re the ones it affects the most.”
Two motorists told police that Underwood ran into traffic on a busy suburban highway Wednesday. A Coral Springs woman told police that Underwood ran in front of her car, causing her to screech to a halt.
Another motorist, a Pompano Beach man, said Underwood kicked and dented his car and told him he “wanted to go to Jesus,” police said.
Underwood cut his knee and was placed in custody at Sunrise Regional Medical Center’s psychiatric unit. A Sunrise Regional official today refused comment.
He was detained under Florida law that allows psychiatric facilities to commit persons for up to 72 hours if they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
No charges have been filed, Coral Springs police Sgt. Rich Nicorvo said.
Teammates, Coach Express Concern
Underwood, who is deeply religious, suffers from bipolar disorder. He also tried to commit suicide in Lansing, Mich., in September 1999 by cutting his throat with two steak knives.
Ekuban and linebacker Dexter Coakley said they expected Underwood, who had four sacks and led the team with 14 quarterback pressures in limited playing time, to play an important role on the Cowboys’ defense next season.
“I’m so sorry to hear that he’s having troubles again,” Coakley said.
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said he had no indication that Underwood was having any emotional problems.
“He played good for me,” Zimmer said. “We thought he would continue to improve because he improved so much during the season and that he would be a good player for us.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and vice president Stephen Jones were out of town and could not be reached for comment. Coach Dave Campo could not be reached for comment.