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Roger Craig is a former NFL running back who won three Super Bowls (1985, 1989, 1990) while playing with the San Francisco 49ers with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Craig was drafted in the second round of the 1983 NFL draft from University of Nebraska, where he once held the record for longest run from scrimmage (94 yards, set during a 1981 game against Florida State University).
In his rookie year, Craig scored a combined 12 touchdowns rushing and receiving, as the 49ers reached the NFC Championship game that year. Craig became well known in his rookie year for his distinctive high-knee running technique.
On January 20, 1985, in Super Bowl XIX, Craig rushed for 58 yards, caught seven passes for 77 yards, and became the first player ever to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl during the 49ers' 38–16 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
The following season Roger Craig became the first player in NFL history to run and receive for at least 1,000 yards in the same season. He ran for 1,050 yards on 214 carries and led the NFL with 92 catches for 1,016 yards. He scored a team high 15 touchdowns.
In 1988, Craig was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He ran for a career high 1,502 yards and caught an additional 76 passes for 534 yards. A memorable game occurred in week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams. He scored three rushing touchdowns and ran a career high 191 yards. He went on to assist the 49ers to Super Bowl XXIII by amassing 262 combined rushing and receiving yards and two touchdowns in their two playoff games. In the 49ers' 20-16 win over Cincinnati in that Super Bowl, he rushed for 71 yards and caught eight passes for 101 yards.
In the 1989 season, the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row, aided by Craig's 1,527 combined rushing/receiving yards and seven touchdowns in the season, along with his 240 combined rushing/receiving yards and two touchdowns in their two playoff games. In San Francisco's 55-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV, Craig rushed for 69 yards, caught five passes for 34 yards, and scored a touchdown.
The San Francisco 49ers were 14–2 in the following regular season on their quest to become the first team to win three consecutive Super Bowls. In the NFC Championship Game (his last as a 49er), Craig fumbled late in the fourth quarter while his team was trying to hold on to a 13-12 lead over the New York Giants. The Giants recovered the ball and scored on a last-second field goal, winning the game 15–13.
Craig played one season with the Los Angeles Raiders and two with the Minnesota Vikings before he retired after the 1993 season. Craig appeared in the NFL Playoffs every year of his career, and made the Pro Bowl four times (1985, 1987-1989).
Roger Craig was the first running back to gain more than 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season (1985). Since then, only one other running back has achieved the same feat (Marshall Faulk in 1999). Craig also caught a then-record 92 passes in the 1985 campaign. In 1988, Craig set a then-franchise record 1,502 yards rushing (Garrison Hearst broke the record with 1,570 yards in 1998. Frank Gore holds the current record with 1,695 yards in 2006). The 1988 season was the second time Craig broke the 2,000 combined yardage mark in his career.
Craig finished his eleven NFL seasons with 8,189 rushing yards, 566 receptions for 4,911 receiving yards, and three kickoff returns for 43 yards. Overall, he amassed 13,143 total yards and scored 73 touchdowns (56 rushing and 17 receiving).
As of today, Roger Craig remains the only running back to lead the NFL in receptions for a single season, and the only one ever to record over 100 receiving yards in a Super Bowl.
In 1993, Peter King (in Inside the Helmet) reported that Craig was the only running back to be elected to the Pro Bowl at both fullback and halfback (a feat which has since been matched by Stephen Davis). On April 21, 2008 Craig was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (BASHOF).