Former 49ers first-round draft pick passes away

Former 49ers first-round draft pick passes away
April 25, 2014, 11:30 am
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Earl Morrall started four games for the 49ers as a 22-year-old rookie, going 1-3. (AP)

MIAMI -- Earl Morrall, an NFL quarterback for 21 years who started nine games during the Miami Dolphins' perfect season in 1972, has died at age 79.

The Dolphins confirmed Morrall's death Friday. Former teammate Charlie Babb said Morrall had been in failing health for some time.

When Bob Griese broke his ankle in 1972, Morrall came off the bench and started the final nine games of the regular season for the Dolphins. Morrall won praise from coach Don Shula for his willingness to step aside when Griese returned for the AFC championship game.

Griese also started in the Super Bowl to help Miami finish 17-0. That remains the only perfect season in NFL history. Morrall also played for the 49ers, Steelers, Lions, Giants and Colts.

He was drafted by the 49ers in the first round with the second overall pick of the 1956 NFL Draft.