Coroner Charles Simmons said the tests on Rogers revealed death was due to ''cocaine poisoning," and he ruled the death accidental. He said there were no other drugs involved.
"He was desperately ill in the last hours of his life," said Joseph Pawloski, the pathologist who performed the autopsy. He said Rogers showed no other signs of disease. "He was an outstanding physical specimen. His heart showed 100 percent normal arteries.
"Rogers' heart failed when blood flooded his lungs and chest cavity, causing the heart to cease operating as a pump."
Pawlowski said the autopsy could not determine if Rogers had been a regular user of cocaine.
Rogers, 23, attended a bachelor party the night before his death. He suffered seizures at about 10:30 a.m. Friday, called out to his mother that he felt ill and then fell into a coma. He died about three hours later.
Simmons said investigators were having trouble determining when Rogers ingested the fatal dose of the narcotic. "It could have been cumulative, or another answer is that he did take it right before he collapsed. We just don't know," Simmons said.
The police will begin a criminal investigation by interviewing Rogers' relatives and friends, assistant police chief Jerry Finney said.
Meanwhile, Rogers' mother, Loretha Rogers, 43, who suffered a stress- related heart attack the day after her son died, was reported to be improving at Community Hospital in Sacramento. Her condition was upgraded
from critical to serious. Pawlowski said Rogers did not have any congenital heart disease related to his mother's ailment.
Rogers was a Rose Bowl hero for UCLA, a No. 1 pick by the Cleveland Browns in the NFL's 1984 college draft and the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was voted the Browns' hardest worker in each of his two seasons.
Rogers died a day before he was to marry his college sweetheart, Leslie Nelson. The money he made from football enabled him to live well and buy his mother a house in a nice neighborhood.
"Tragically, in death, Don Rogers may have made more of a contribution to society than he could have on the playing field," Browns owner Art Modell said. "Let's hope his passing serves as a warning to those who want to try or have used drugs."
Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer released a similar statement.
"We can only hope and pray that Don's death makes more people realize the necessity of avoiding drugs," Schottenheimer said. "The shock of this incident must be felt by everyone who is curious about or who takes drugs. Only in this way can we begin to prevent this kind of tragedy."
UCLA coach Terry Donahue called on all leaders in sports to take a stand in favor of drug testing. For his part, he said, UCLA will begin a testing program in the fall.
"I feel strongly that there is a real obligation for all of us to face," Donahue said at a camp in Irvine, Calif. "We need to take some very strong positions. . . . I'm a very strong advocate of drug testing and have been for a long time."