The San Francisco 49ers picked running back Roger Craig from the University of Nebraska in the second round, 49th overall, of the 1983 NFL Draft. Craig played both halfback and fullback in the Cornhuskers’ run-dominated offense. He also starred on the track team in college.
Craig wasted little time proving his worth, as he became a regular in Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense as a rookie. He displayed his versatility that season when he ran for 725 yards and scored eight rushing touchdowns, and caught 48 passes for 427 yards, and four touchdowns.
In his second pro season, Craig was a key part of a 49ers team that finished with a 15-1-0 regular season record. The team’s success continued through the post-season and was capped by a victory in Super Bowl XIX. In that game, Craig scored three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing, as the 49ers downed the Miami Dolphins 38-16.
The following season, Craig made history when he became the first player in National Football League history to gain 1,000 yards in both rushing (1,050 yards) and receiving (1,016 yards) in the same season. His career-high 92 receptions that year led the league.
In 1988, he established a 49ers’ record with 1,502 yards rushing as San Francisco posted a league-best 10-6-0 record, followed by a 20-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII.
One season later, Craig became the first running back in team history to rush for 1,000 yards three times. The 49ers captured their second consecutive Super Bowl title with a 55-10 victory over the Denver Broncos as Craig rushed for 69 yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown.
At the time of his retirement, Craig’s 8,189 rushing yards ranked 13th all-time, and his 566 career receptions was 19th best overall. He scored 56 rushing touchdowns and added 17 more scores on receptions during his career.
Craig earned Pro Bowl berths four times in five years (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990). He was named a unanimous All-Pro and All-NFC selection in 1988, and second team All-Pro or All-NFC in 1985, 1987, and 1989.