Len Rohde, who played 15 seasons with the 49ers as an offensive lineman and remained in the Bay Area after his retirement following the 1974 season, died on Saturday, May 13. He was 79.
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York made the following statement on social media:
“My condolences go out to the Rohde family. Len was everything the 49ers stand for on and off the field. He will be missed.”
No player in 49ers history played more consecutive games than Rohde, who suited up for 208 games in a row from 1960 to ’74. Rohde shares the franchise record with former 49ers long-snapper Brian Jennings.
Rohde, who played college football at Utah State, was a fifth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1960. In his first three seasons he backed up and split time with right tackle Bob St. Clair, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Rohde moved to left tackle in 1964, where he remained until his retirement. Rohde was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1970 after a season in which the 49ers set a then-NFL record for fewest sacks allowed (eight) in a season and won the NFC West title Rohde protected the blind side of quarterback John Brodie, who was named NFL Most Valuable Player.
Rohde won the Len Eshmont Award in 1974 as the team’s most courageous and inspirational player.
In the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have You Gone?” Rohde spoke about his career.
“As an offensive tackle, there aren’t too many individual stats you can hang your hat on,” Rohde said. “But I guess playing in 208 games, winning the Len Eshmont, the NFC West, going to the Pro Bowl and the sack record aren’t bad.”
Rohde, a native of Palatine, Illinois, opened his first of six Burger King franchises in the Bay Area in 1976. He also was a majority owner of five Applebee’s restaurants.
“I probably wouldn’t have gone to college without football,” Rohde said. “I owe an awful lot to the game, and I was around people who had a great influence on me. I feel pretty grateful for the opportunities, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”