Former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Charlie Krueger, one of only 12 players in franchise history with his number retired, died Friday in Contra Costa County, Calif., of heart and kidney failure. He was 84.
Krueger made two Pro Bowls and was All-Pro twice, playing all 15 years as a pro with the 49ers, from 1959-73.
The 49ers selected Krueger, a two-time All-American with Texas A&M, at No. 8 overall in the 1958 draft. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982.
In an obituary provided to the Bay Area News Group, Hall of-Famer Dave Wilcox, a former 49ers linebacker, said: “Charlie was the Textbook Tackle because, fundamentally, he was a very sound player who wanted to know everything he had to do on the field. Rams’ players told me they hated to play Charlie because it took two, three guys to block him.
“He had such great leverage, that he was tough to play against, and he was there all day. He wanted to do good, and he was a good teammate. But he also was a prankster. He had something to do with a stripper running through practice one day in Santa Barbara.”
Krueger was the cover subject for Sports Illustrated in 1973, when he and his single-bar facemask appeared for a story titled “The Last of the Old Leather.”
In 1987, he won a lawsuit against the 49ers, who failed to reveal to Krueger the severity of a knee injury that permanently disabled him. Krueger, unaware his ACL was removed from his left knee during a 1963 surgery, won $66,000 in special damages and $2.3 million in general damages.