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Who was 49ers legend and Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox who passed away?

There’s sad news in the world of football today, with the passing of the former 49ers star, defensive legend and Hall of Fame inductee Dave Wilcox.

There’s sad news in the world of football today, with the passing of the former 49ers star, defensive legend and Hall of Fame inductee Dave Wilcox.

Known as “The Intimidator,” Wilcox’s was a fierce style and dedicated approach to the game. Indeed, it was the long-time 49ers player who essentially redefined the position of outside linebacker.

Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox passes away.

According to a release from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former outside linebacker Dave Wilcox has died at the age of 80-years-old. It is understood that Wilcox had recently undergone heart surgery. Synonymous with the San Francisco 49ers during his career, Wilcox was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 after playing in a total seven Pro Bowls. On five occasions he was an All-NFL choice (1967,1970, 1971, 1972, 1973), in addition to three All-NFC selections in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

Though he was infamous for his brutal manner of play on the field, he was widely regarded as a kind and gentle man who exuded humility in his personal life. An icon of the sport, it was Wilcox who is largely regarded as the player who transformed the OL position. “...Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave’s wife, Merle, and their entire family. We will preserve his legacy for generations to come,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a statement.

Dave Wilcox: A look back

Pursued by both the then Houston Oilers and San Francisco 49ers in 1964, Wilcox, standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 241 pounds was a beast of a man. He was eventually drafted 46th overall by the Oilers in the sixth round of the AFL Draft, however, he was also selected 29th overall in the third round of the NFL Draft by the 49ers. Interesting times. Ultimately, Wilcox chose the league that was more established and with it a new home in the bay area. During 11 seasons with the 49ers his reputation simply grew and grew. Known for creating disaster for opposing teams, especially where tight ends were concerned, he would go on to record 14 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries and a touchdown in his career.

“He changed the position,” former 49ers assistant Mike Giddings said of Wilcox in his Hall of Fame enshrinement speech. “He was an absolutely strong, naturally strong, Vale, Oregon, farm boy. I used to say that his triceps went from his earlobe to his wrists. He simply manhandled blockers, but he had one concern. ‘Mike, don’t ever let me get beat deep on a pass.’” Incredibly, Wilcox missed one single game in his career. Today, his sons Josh and Justin - by whom he is survived, both maintain a passion for the game. Josh is currently on the roster of the New Orleans Saints, while Justin is the present coach at University of California.