TAMPA — Former Bucs running back and longtime NFL scout Reggie Cobb died Saturday in San Clara, Calif., where he worked for the 49ers. He was 50.
Mr. Cobb was the Bucs’ second-round draft pick (30th overall) in 1990 out of Tennessee and played seven seasons in the NFL, the first four in Tampa Bay. His best season was 1992, when he rushed for 1,171 yards and nine touchdowns. He also played for the Packers (’94), Jaguars (’95) and Jets (’96).
The 49ers announced Mr. Cobb’s passing, but they did not give a cause of death.
“We are devastated by the sudden loss of a tremendous teammate and loyal friend, Reggie Cobb,’’ said 49ers general manager John Lynch, a teammate of Mr. Cobb’s with the Bucs. “Reggie was an enthusiastic and passionate person who had a special ability to brighten a room with his personality and infectious smile. For 10 years the 49ers were better because of Reggie and these unique qualities that he possessed. He was a top-notch scout and an exemplary man whose years of service to this organization and the National Football League will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this time of mourning.”
After his playing career, Mr. Cobb spent six years (2003-08) scouting the southwest region for the Bucs and two seasons with the Washington (2001-02) scouting department. In 2011, Mr. Cobb was named the NFC scout of the year by the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
“We’re saddened to hear of the passing of former running back Reggie Cobb. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cobb family,’’ the Bucs said in a statement released by the team.
Mr. Cobb finished third on Tennessee’s career rushing list with 2,360 yards; he now ranks 11th. He also had 26 rushing touchdowns, which is tied for fourth. He was part of the Volunteers’ 100th anniversary team.
As a senior in 1989 Mr. Cobb was battling Florida junior Emmitt Smith for the rushing lead in the SEC when he was dismissed from Vols after failing a drug test in October.
Three months later, Mr. Cobb entered the John Lucas New Spirit Recovery Treatment Center in Houston, where one of his frequent visitors was then-Bucs coach Ray Perkins, so it was no surprise when Perkins drafted him in 1990. Mr. Cobb finished with 3,743 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns in his NFL career. His 3,061 yards for the Bucs ranks seventh on their all-time rushing list.
“The passing of Reggie Cobb in a word is devastating,’’ tweeted Louis Riddick, an NFL analyst for ESPN who worked with Mr. Cobb as a scout in Washington. “The amount of time I spent w/him as a scout & friend over the past 18 years simply talking ball & laughing as hard as I have ever laughed is what I will keep with me forever. Rest easy RC & prayers to his family. I love you.’’