NFL: Former Saints and 49ers LB Parys Haralson Dead at 37

by John Jamison
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2006, linebacker Parys Haralson led a successful NFL career. He logged 28 sacks over the course of his nine seasons playing in the league between the 49ers and the Saints. It was with a heavy heart that 49ers announced 37-year old Haralson’s death on Monday. There have not yet been any details regarding the cause of death.

Parys Haralson played 118 NFL games throughout his career. In that time, he managed 380 tackles, three forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries. A two-time captain for the Tennessee Volunteers in college, Haralson was a natural leader on and off the field. His disposition landed him a job as the 49ers’ director of player engagement for two years after retiring from the NFL.

“The 49ers are heartbroken and shocked by the news of Parys’ tragic passing. Parys was a beloved member of our organization that lived life with an extraordinary amount of passion and joy, while leaving an indelible mark on everyone he came across. We extend our condolences to Parys’ family and loved ones,” the team wrote in a statement.

NFL players from around the league offered their condolences on social media. Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, Haralson’s former teammate, shared his thoughts on Twitter.

“Parys a true pro and a teammate turned FRIEND… at 37! 37!! Charismatic, high energy and wise on and off the field… the gems he dropped while being my teammates and the advice he gave off the field I’ll always value. Damn… RIP PTown,” Jordan wrote in the tweet.

Donte Whitner, a teammate of Haralson’s from the 49ers, did the same.

“You’re going to hear a lot of stories about how great of a person Parys Haralson was. All of those stories are true,” tweeted sports columnist Rod Walker.

Whether it’s the unexpected passing of a former NFL player like Parys Haralson or the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives on 9/11, death is always tragic. Observing the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the NFL aired a video tribute narrated by actor and volunteer firefighter Steve Buscemi, who was at Ground Zero in the days following the attacks.

“Twenty years ago, this country was tested in a way we never had been before. Many believed we would never recover. We know very well that not to be the case. America faced her worst fears and heartbreak in 2001, on 9/11. This is the story of 9/12. The day after, we picked each other up. We did it by having faith and belief in one another, and in something bigger than ourselves. We did it together, and we did it by remembering who we are. But more importantly, who we as Americans aspire to be.”