49ers’ great Charlie Krueger dies at 84

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Former defensive tackle Charlie Krueger, one of only 12 players in 49ers’ franchise history with his number retired, died Friday, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Krueger was 84.

Krueger died in Contra Costa County, California, of heart and kidney failure.

He spent his entire 15-year career with the 49ers, earning two Pro Bowl berths and two All-Pro honors from 1959-73. The 49ers made him the eighth overall choice in 1958 after he twice earned All-America honors at Texas A&M while playing for Bear Bryant.

Krueger was among the last linemen to wear a single-bar facemask, and in 1973, Sports Illustrated featured him in a story titled “The Last of the Old Leather.”

Krueger, receiver Dwight Clark and quarterback John Brodie are the only 49ers among the 12 with their jersey number retired who are not also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In 1987, Krueger won a lawsuit against the 49ers, who a state court found guilty of fraud for failing to reveal to Krueger the severity of a knee injury that permanently crippled him. Krueger, who was 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.