Former San Francisco 49ers running back John David Crow passed away yesterday at the age of 79. The first Heisman Trophy winner in Texas A&M history and 4-time Pro-Bowl selection, Crow played the final four seasons of his NFL career as a member of the 49ers (1965-68).
A veteran of 11 NFL seasons, Crow was originally selected in the first round (second overall) by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1958 NFL Draft. He played in 125 games and registered 1,157 carries for 4,963 yards and 38 touchdowns while adding 258 receptions for 3,699 yards and 35 touchdowns in his career. After three Pro-Bowl appearances in seven seasons with the Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals, Crow was traded to the 49ers in 1965. As a member of the 49ers, he saw action in 56 games and earned the fourth Pro-Bowl selection of his career, in 1965. In four seasons with San Francisco, Crow registered 370 carries for 1,474 yards and five touchdowns while adding 120 receptions for 1,738 yards and 18 touchdowns. He retired after the 1969 season in which he recorded a career-high of 531 receiving yards.
A Marion, LA native, Crow attended Texas A&M where he earned the 1957 Heisman Trophy with his outstanding two-way play under head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. During his Heisman season, he rushed for 562 yards and six touchdowns on 129 carries, while also adding five passing touchdowns and five interceptions on defense.
Following his playing career, Crow became a coach, joining Bryant at the University of Alabama, in 1969, for three seasons. He returned to the NFL as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns from 1972-73 and served as the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 1974. In 1975, Crow went to work for Northeast Louisiana University, where he spent six years as the head coach and athletic director. He returned to his alma mater as the assistant athletic director in 1983, and was promoted to athletic director of Texas A&M in 1988, where he served until 1993.