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Cleveland Elam Dies

I'm a little shocked by this. I remember watching him. Yeah, it was a long time ago, but he was a big part of the fabled 49er Gold Rush. It was the only thing we had going for us at the time.

Anyone have any other detail on how he passed away?


Former 49er Cleveland Elam Passes Away

Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Cleveland Elam passed away last week on July 12th. He was 60 years old.

A native of Memphis, TN, Elam attended Tennessee State University in Nashville, where he was a 1974Pittsburgh Courier All-America selection. His junior year, Elam and Tennessee State went 10-0 and captured the Black College National Championship. He was drafted by the 49ers in the 4th round (85thoverall) of the 1975 NFL Draft. Elam produced immediately as a member of the 49ers Gold Rush defensive line which led the NFL in sacks during the 1976 season. Elam had a team high, 17.5 sacks the following season. He was twice voted to the Pro Bowl in 1976 and 1977, as well as named First-Team All-Pro in 1977. His career was cut short in 1979 due to injuries. Last season during the 49ers alumni weekend in the Bay Area, Elam was honored for his time with the team.

He is survived by his wife Blanche and their four children. A memorial service will be held at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Salisbury, NC on July 21st at noon.
RIP
The team is apparently choosing not to release the cause of death. Perhaps it's at the wish of other family members?
  • cciowa
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My god this is sad for us old school fans. i wish the kids could have seen this. You think we have a good front four now. That front four in 1975-1977 was violent good. 61 sacks is still an nfl record. ten vs the rams on monday night football. what a defense. if only joe thomas had not taken over, monte clark would have stayed. but then we never would have gotten bill walsh. i am sure there is some footage of the gold rush on you tube somewhere. The quarterbacks never had a chance . very sad very sad. cedrick hardman was my favorite but elam was awesome to.
Cleveland Elam was one of my 1st 49er football cards ever; his and Gene Washington's, so I rooted extra hard for him while trying understand the basics of football at such a young age.

RIP, big E.
[ Edited by IWASATTHECATCH on Jul 18, 2012 at 7:12 PM ]
Originally posted by cciowa:
My god this is sad for us old school fans. i wish the kids could have seen this. You think we have a good front four now. That front four in 1975-1977 was violent good. 61 sacks is still an nfl record. ten vs the rams on monday night football. what a defense. if only joe thomas had not taken over, monte clark would have stayed. but then we never would have gotten bill walsh. i am sure there is some footage of the gold rush on you tube somewhere. The quarterbacks never had a chance . very sad very sad. cedrick hardman was my favorite but elam was awesome to.

Agreed. Best front four I've ever seen. Yes, even better than the Deanfense. Every member of that line was a threat to get to the QB. There was no such thing as a designated pass rusher then. That didn't come about until Fred Dean. There was also very little substitution. These guys played every snap of every game.

Still no report on the cause of death. You'd think an enterprising reporter might ask the question of HOW? But I guess old school journalism is -- well -- just that -- old school.
R.I.P Cleveland
[ Edited by RonMexico on Jul 18, 2012 at 7:20 PM ]
Hey guys I think someone might have died there were only 46 links to it on the front page
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 26,927
Originally posted by IWASATTHECATCH:
Cleveland Elam was one of my 1st 49er football cards ever; his and Gene Washington's, so I rooted extra hard for him while trying understand the basics of football at such a young age.

RIP, big E.
my first cards were vic washington and cedrick hardman, my first poster in my room was gene washington with his old poofy afro sticking out of the back of the helmet.. by the way i always liked the bubble gum that was in those packs of cards back in the 70's. did you?
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 26,927
i do not take away anything from the dean defense or the haley defense or the 94 defense or last years defense but that front four was the best in the history of the 49ers and in the nfl, no debate
Thanks Cleveland!
RIP

Young.

Very sad. RIP.
Idk why... But I've never heard of him.
Very saddened by this news.