Former 49ers linebacker Ed Beard dies at 83

USA TODAY Sports

Former 49ers linebacker Ed Beard died Monday at the age of 83, the team announced Friday.

The 49ers selected Beard in the 14th round of the 1964 NFL draft, and the Raiders took him in the 20th round of the 1964 AFL draft. He played his entire career with the 49ers, seeing action from 1965-72.

Beard played 97 games, mostly on special teams.

He became the first special teams captain in NFL history. After Beard’s career was cut short by injuries, he served as a linebackers coach for the 49ers and Saints before becoming defensive coordinator for the Lions.

In 1971, Beard received the 49ers most prestigious annual honor, the Len Eshmont Award. The team annually honors a player who best exemplifies the “inspirational and courageous play” of Eshmont.

Beard was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.