Former NFL First-Round Pick Jeff Gladney Died Alongside Girlfriend In Crash, Police Say

The Dallas County Sheriff's Office confirmed Tuesday that Jeff Gladney's girlfriend, Mercedes Andrea Palacios, also died in the fatal car crash that occurred in the early morning of Memorial Day.

Police revealed earlier on Tuesday that two people -- a male and female -- were found dead in an overturned white vehicle at around 2:30 a.m. Police did not identify the names of the victims at the time. Gladney was reportedly the driver of the car and was speeding at the time before he clipped another vehicle from behind. It is unknown how fast Gladney was going before the accident.

Police said the two occupants of the other vehicle were uninjured.


Gladney, 25, was the Vikings’ 2020 first-round pick out of TCU. He started all 16 games for Minnesota in the 2020 season, racking up 81 tackles and one forced fumble. Gladney was released by the Vikings in the summer of 2021, however, after being accused of assaulting his girlfriend. As a result, Gladney sat out the entirety of the 2021 season.

Both the Vikings and Cardinals released statements on Gladney's passing.

“We are saddened by the tragic death of former Viking Jeff Gladney,” the statement reads. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends, as well as the Arizona Cardinals organization and Jeff’s current and former teammates and coaches who are mourning his life lost much too soon.”

“We are devastated to learn of Jeff Gladney’s passing,” the statement reads. “Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all who are mourning this tremendous loss.”

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Nick Geddes is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. A life-long sports enthusiast, Nick shares a passion for sports writing and is proud to represent OutKick.