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1983 Heisman Trophy Winner Shot in Camden

November 7, 1996 GMT

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Mike Rozier, the 1983 Heisman Trophy winner, was shot several times early Wednesday by an assailant who opened fire on a street corner, police said.

Rozier, 35, of Camden, was listed in satisfactory condition at Cooper Hospital-University Medical Center. He was shot twice in the stomach and once in the hand, police said.

Authorities were searching for a suspect and offered no motive for the shooting, which occurred around 12:45 a.m. in the McGuire Gardens housing development, a few blocks from where Rozier lives.

A second man was also wounded in the incident.

Rozier and an acquaintance, Bart Merriel, told police they were drinking with a man identified only as ``Lou.″ The man _ for no apparent reason _ pulled out a gun and began firing, they told police.

The assailant fled on foot, police said.

An eyewitness, who had also been drinking with the group, drove Rozier and Merriel to the hospital. Merriel, 33, also of Camden, was shot three times in the chest and once in the arm.

Merriel was listed in stable condition Wednesday.

A Camden native, Rozier won the Heisman as a running back at Nebraska in 1983. The NFL’s No. 1 draft choice in 1984, Rozier played with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL before joining the NFL’s Houston Oilers in 1985.

The Atlanta Falcons obtained Rozier in 1990 off waivers. Rozier, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in January 1992, was later waived the same year by the Falcons.

In seven NFL seasons, Rozier had 1,159 carries for 4,462 yards and 30 touchdowns and caught 90 passes for 715 yards.

Last week, federal authorities arrested Rozier’s cousin, Ramone Worthy, a former Nebraska football player, on drug charges in an indictment handed up in Lincoln, Neb. Worthy, 22, also formerly of Camden, was playing football at Rowan College of New Jersey.