Former 49ers running back Roger Craig took another step toward his long-awaited induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was included in a group of 25 semifinalists for the Seniors category of the 2023 Hall of Fame class.
Craig revolutionized the running back position for the 49ers during his eight seasons in San Francisco. The 1983 second-round pick rushed for 8,189 yards in his career, and caught 566 balls for 4,911 yards. Those receiving numbers are what should ultimately get him into Canton.
In the 1985 season Craig caught a league-high 92 passes for 1,016 yards en route to becoming the first player to put up 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Only two other running backs have accomplished that feat since, even in an NFL that leans more on its RBs for pass-catching. Marshall Faulk did it in 1999, and Christian McCaffrey did it in 2019.
On top of one of most unique statistical careers in history, Craig was also a three-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Pro Bowler, First-Team All-Pro,1988 Offensive Player of the Year, and a member of the Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team for the 1980s.
The next step for Craig will be to become one of 12 Senior finalists, which will be named on July 27. There will also be 12 Coaches/Contributors who will land in the finalist pool. Then on August 16 the Senior committee will choose up to three finalists to get their induction into Canton.
Seniors are players who played their final NFL game no later than the 1996 season. The other 24 semifinalists per a release from the Hall of Fame are Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Mark Clayton, LaVern Dilweg, Randy Gradishar, Lester Hayes, Chris Hinton, Chuck Howley, Cecil Isbell, Joe Jacoby, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Mike Kenn, Joe Klecko, Bob Kuechenberg, George Kunz, Jim Marshall, Clay Matthews Jr., Eddie Meador, Stanley Morgan, Tommy Nobis, Ken Riley, Sterling Sharpe, Otis Taylor and Everson Walls.