Santa Clara, CA – San Francisco 49ers great R.C. Owens died Sunday. He was 78 years old.
Owens played eight seasons in the NFL as a receiver and spent his first five years with the 49ers. From 1957-61 with San Francisco, he compiled 177 receptions for 2,939 yards and 20 touchdowns.
He also played for the Baltimore Colts from 1962-63 and the New York Giants in 1964, finishing his career with 206 catches for 3,285 yards.
Known for his ability to outleap defenders in the end zone, Owens and quarterback Y.A. Tittle perfected the play known as the "Alley-oop."
Following his playing career, Owens worked for the 49ers from 1979-2001. He held various positions, including director of training camp and director of alumni relations.
"The 49ers family has suffered a great loss with the passing of R.C. Owens," said 49ers owner and chairman John York in a statement. "Long after his days as a player were over, his devotion to the organization remained strong. R.C. was an ever-present supporter of the 49ers Foundation and did great works with the community at large. The San Francisco 49ers and our faithful fans will forever be grateful for his contributions and he will be sincerely missed."
Owens, who had a kidney transplant in 2004, was inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He is survived by his wife, Susan.