Former 49ers halfback/Broncos executive Carroll Hardy dies at 87

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Carroll Hardy, a former 49ers halfback and Broncos executive, died Sunday of complications from dementia, the Associated Press reports. He was 87.

Hardy was a three-sport star at the University of Colorado, starring in track, baseball and football in the 1950s. The 49ers made him the 33rd overall choice in the 1955 draft.

Hardy had 27 touches for 375 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie.

He then signed with the Cleveland Indians and never appeared in another NFL game. Hardy is best known as being the only player to pinch hit for Ted Williams.

While ending his baseball career with the minor league Denver Bears, he began scouting for the Broncos part-time in the offseason. That led to a 24-year stint in the organization.

He worked as assistant ticket manager, director of scouting, pro personnel director and assistant general manager in his time with the Broncos.

Hardy was credited with helping build Denver’s “Orange Crush” defense that led to the Broncos’ first Super Bowl appearance in 1977. He also helped assemble the Broncos’ 1986 and ’87 Super Bowl teams before retiring.

Hardy is survived by his wife and three children.