Former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Charlie Powell, who played nine seasons in the NFL and five with the 49ers, passed away Monday at the age of 82 in San Diego.
Powell, who signed with the 49ers at the age of 19, was the youngest player in NFL history to be drafted at that time. Although born in Texas, Powell grew up in San Diego and attended San Diego High School, where he was a three-sport athlete and was named the California High School Football Player of the Year.
Upon graduating, Powell played Minor League Baseball for the Stockton Ports of Stockton, Calif., before making his debut for the San Francisco 49ers in 1952 as a defensive lineman. In his first contest, he earned the game ball after sacking Detroit's Bobby Layne several times. Powell went on to play with the team from 1952-57, before finishing his career with the Oakland Raiders in 1960-61.
A tremendous athlete, Powell made his pro debut as a boxer in 1953 and turned his attention to the sport soon after retiring from the NFL. Powell finished his career with a 25-11-3 record, with his most notable fight coming against Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, on January 24, 1963, at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Powell is survived by his wife, Erma, and his brothers Art, Jerry and Ellsworth.