Former San Francisco 49ers tight end Greg Clark has died at the age of 49, his family announced Friday. The specific cause of Clark's death was not disclosed, but his family did note that his passing was unexpected. His family also said in a statement that Clark may have been suffering from the effects of head trauma sustained during his football career.
"His recent suffering from CTE symptoms cannot extinguish the breadth and depth of his impact on us and others, and we are forever grateful for the time we have had with him," the statement read. "It is our hope that through further research we can gain more knowledge surrounding CTE."
Clark entered the NFL as a third-round draft choice of the Niners back in 1997 after an impressive collegiate career at Stanford. He went on to play four seasons in the league -- all with San Francisco -- before his career was cut short due to injuries. He gained the reputation of being a tough tight end who excelled as a blocker and also held his own as a receiver. Clark caught 92 passes over his 55 games played for 909 yards and four touchdowns. He added five more receptions for 38 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs as well.
"Our organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Greg Clark," the 49ers said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Clark is remembered as a family man as he was the father of three sons and husband to his wife, Carie, of 23 years. Following his NFL career, Clark went on to have "a successful real-estate platform throughout the Bay Area," according to his family's statement.