Dave “The Intimidator” Wilcox, who had an impressive 11-season span in the National Football League, tragically passed away on Wednesday at the age of 80.
The linebacker was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1964 and remained with the team throughout his 10 years in the league. As a Hall of Famer, he is regarded as one of the best linebackers of all time for “transforming” the position. While playing with San Francisco, he was a two-time first-team All-Pro, two-time second-team All-Pro, and seven-time Pro Bowl selection.
“While Dave Wilcox was nicknamed ‘The Intimidator’ for his aggressive style of play, he was a kind, humble and gracious man in all other aspects of life,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter shared in a statement, according to ESPN. “He transformed the outside linebacker position — one of the many feats that earned him a forever home in Canton.”
Porter proceeded to express, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Dave’s wife, Merle, and their entire family. We will preserve his legacy for generations to come.”
Wilcox’s legacy began at Boise State University and later at the University of Oregon. Following his college career, he was drafted by San Francisco and played in the Pro Bowl every year from 1968 to 1973. Amazingly, he only missed one game throughout his 11 seasons.
Given his substantial impact in the early days of the NFL, it is unsurprising that he was selected in 2000 to join the Hall of Fame Seniors category.
Reflecting on Dave Wilcox’s Hall of Fame induction speech
“It is indeed an honor to stand up here in front of the greatest football players of all time and being included in that group,” Wilcox said during his Hall of Fame induction speech. “If you think about it, of all the people that have played this game, from Little League to junior high, college, pro, and you select a few for enshrinement, this is truly amazing.”
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He even went on to joke, “When I tell people, ‘I played for the 49ers,’ they ask if I played with Joe Montana. I tell them I played before Joe and money.”
However, Wilcox emphasized his love for the game and gratitude for the chance to be selected as a Hall of Famer. He concluded his speech with the sentiments, “Now, 30 years later, I’m standing here with the greatest of all time. I don’t have words that would do justice to this moment.”
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