O.J. Simpson, who finished NFL career with 49ers, dies at 76

His time with the 49ers might actually be the least-discussed part of O.J. Simpson's life.
San Francisco 49ers v Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers v Cleveland Browns / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

While O.J. Simpson became famous at USC and then with the Bills, the controversial figure actually finished his NFL career with the 49ers.

Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson died on April 10, 2024, according to a statement from his family that was shared the following day by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Simpson was battling cancer, per the announcement.

There was, of course, no shortage of controversy surrounding Simpson after his NFL career came to its conclusion.

He was charged with the 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles. Though a jury ultimately found him not guilty of either murder at the conclusion of one of the most sensationalized trials in modern history, one deemed "The Trial of the Century," he was later convicted of 12 counts of armed robbery and kidnapping and sentenced to 33 years in prison following an attempted robbery of a Las Vegas hotel in 2007. Simpson was released on parole in October 2017 and discharged from parole four years later.

On the field, Simpson made his mark at the collegiate level at USC before a legendary nine-year career with the Buffalo Bills in which he secured six Pro Bowl nods and five first-team All-Pro accolades.

He was already a Hall of Famer by that point, and many fans don't realize that Simpson actually closed out his NFL playing career with the San Francisco 49ers, his hometown team.

How Simpson returned to the Niners, however, isn't exactly a positive part of team lore.

49ers' trade for O.J. Simpson was one of the worst in franchise history

In 1977, San Francisco was beginning to usher in a new era under a new owner, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who is renowned by 49ers fans but actually got off to a bit of a rocky start.

Part of that start included a 1978 trade with the Bills for Simpson, one that sent the Niners' second- and third-round NFL Draft picks that year, a first-round pick in 1979 and then a second- and a fourth-round pick in the 1980 draft.

All for a 31-year-old Simpson, who was clearly past his prime at that point and dealing with significant injuries, primarily to his knees.

To this day, it goes down as one of the worst trades in team history.

Related story: 10 worst trades in 49ers franchise history

Simpson spent two seasons with San Francisco before his final retirement after the 1979 season. In total, his 49ers tenure included 281 rush attempts for 1,053 yards with four touchdowns on the ground, averaging just 3.7 yards per attempt, over the course of 23 games played.

One of the reasons Simpson's tenure with the Niners is mostly forgotten is because of the team's dynasty years beginning shortly after his retirement.

Simpson was 76 years old when he passed away.

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