Ed Beard, who played linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and is a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, died Monday, the NFL team announced. He was 83.
No cause of death was given.
Beard played for the 49ers from 1965 to 1972 as a middle linebacker and then as the first special teams captain in NFL history, the 49ers said in a news release on Friday.
The San Francisco 49ers are mourning the passing of Ed Beard who played 8 seasons with the team from 1965-1972. Our deepest condolences to his wife Bobbie, his family, and friends.https://t.co/26qgnTiQzd pic.twitter.com/PKC4smc3qi— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 20, 2023
According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Beard played in 97 regular-season games and appeared in five postseason contests with the 49ers. He had three interceptions during his career, including a 69-yard return in 1968.
Beard was born on Dec. 9, 1939, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He starred at Oscar Smith High School in South Norfolk in the late 1950s, WAVY-TV reported. In 1957, Beard won the Virginia state high school wrestling championship as a heavyweight.
Beard played two seasons at the University of Tennessee before enlisting in the U.S. Army, according to the television station. He was drafted by the 49ers in the 14th round of the NFL draft in 1964.
After his NFL career was cut short by injuries, Beard became linebackers coach for the 49ers and then the New Orleans Saints, NBC Sports reported. He also served as defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, the news outlet reported.
He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. In 1996, the Oscar Smith High School football field was renamed “Beard-Delong-Easley Field.”
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