Dallas • A former standout football player for Iowa State 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. Police have released few details about the investigation, but 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.
Hall and Iowa State officials confirmed that Berryman played for the Cyclones, a career 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 both his police run-ins and familiarity of a small town.
Berryman played during the 2003 and 2005 seasons at Iowa State before he was dismissed from the team. But in 2003, during his freshman year, he was the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and an All Big 12 honorable mention. He 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, according to Mike Green, spokesman for the university’s athletics department. He had 72 tackles that year and led the team with 7.5 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’s time at Iowa State was marred by a 2004 conviction for first-degree theft and assault causing injury. He had punched a fellow student and robbed him of $4, then took a cellphone from another student. He spent about eight months in jail.
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.
Associated Press writer Barbara Rodriguez in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.
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