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 1974 Pittsburgh 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 (85th overall) 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.
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