Larry Roberts, who played defensive end on two 49ers teams that won Super Bowls, died Monday morning after battling numerous health issues. He was 53.
The 49ers originally selected Roberts in the second round of the 1986 draft from Alabama. He played all eight of his NFL seasons with the 49ers.
Roberts started in the 49ers’ Super Bowl XXIII win over the Cincinnati Bengals in 1989 and saw significant action as a backup in Super Bowl XXIV against the Denver Broncos.
He started 34 of the 89 regular-season games in which he appeared in his career. Roberts also saw action in 12 postseason games with three starts. He tied Charles Haley for the team-lead with seven sacks in 1991. He finished his career with 28 sacks.
In February, an article in USA Today detailed his friendship with Ronnie Lott while Roberts faced struggles in recent years.
"We’ll talk about the times we had, and playing in the Super Bowls," Roberts said of his relationship with Lott. "But, really, I’m trying to make it through life, day by day."
According to the article, Roberts developed diabetes as he took custody of his two teenage children after a divorce. A few years ago, Roberts was hospitalized to have his right foot amputated after gangrene set in. He woke up in the recovery room to learn both legs had been amputated.
"Life has thrown me a lot of curveballs," Roberts told USA Today. "I am depressed as hell. My children pull me through."
Lott established financial assistance for Roberts to help him deal with the huge medical costs.
"We’re human beings," Lott told USA Today. "For a long time, I had no idea what he was dealing with. But you keep hearing more and more stories, and we’re going to hear even more stories like Larry’s."