NFL World Mourns Former Player Craig Puki’s Death at 66
It’s with profound a broken heart and profound sadness we inform you of former 49ers linebacker Craig Puki’s death at the age of 66.
The team announced the heartbreaking news on Friday. “The 49ers mourn the passing of former LB Craig Puki. Our thoughts are with his friends and family,” the team tweeted.
Craig Alan Puki was born on January 18, 1957, in Deadwood, South Dakota. The 49ers drafted Puki in the 3rd round of the 1980 draft out of the University of Tennessee. He played three National Football League seasons.
He saw action in all 16 games for the 49ers each of his first two seasons, making an interception and two fumble recoveries. Puki played all three playoff games in 1981 when the 49ers won the Super Bowl title.
Puki played for the Rams in 1982, appearing in seven games. That was his last season in the NFL.
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Craig Puki’s Death Cause Remains Unknown
Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Craig Puki’s death at age 66 was announced by the team on Mat 19, 2023. The team posted a message on Twitter.
Craig Puki’s cause of death remains unknown. He played two seasons for the 49ers after being drafted in the 3rd round (77th overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft.
The player was a member of the team that won Super Bowl XVI against the Cincinnati Bengals.
According to a 1982 article from the United Press International, Craig spent almost four weeks in a drug rehabilitation center due to cocaine usage.
Puki voluntarily sought treatment at a drug and alcohol abuse clinic in Orange County. He admitted to his drug use but rejected using it or consuming alcohol before games or on specific days.
Unfortunately, it was too late to save his career with the 49ers, as the team released Puki due to personal problems, as stated by then-coach Bill Walsh.
However, the concerns were not solely related to drugs. Craig was out of shape during a mini-camp and failed to appear at a pre-training camp physical.
He claimed he was not informed about the physical. Bill Walsh requested urinalysis exams to prove he was drug-free, but it was not enough to save his tenure with the 49ers.
Another heartbreaking news! Jacklyn Zeman’s cause of death was disclosed by her family after her death on May 10, 2023. The ‘General Hospital’ star passed away at the age of 70.