File - In this Nov. 21, 2010, file photo, former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver R.C. Owens smiles during an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in San Francisco. Owens, a longtime 49ers front office man and eight-year NFL wide receiver whose impressive leaping ability earned him the nickname “Alley Oop” and helped popularize the phrase, has died. He was 78. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:29AM
SAN FRANCISCO — R.C. Owens, a longtime 49ers front-office man and eight-year NFL wide receiver whose impressive leaping ability earned him the nickname “Alley Oop” and helped popularize the basketball phrase, died Sunday at age 77.
The Niners, his team for the first five of his NFL seasons, announced Mr. Owens’ death on Monday. The team said he died Sunday and had been living in Manteca, about 75 miles east of San Francisco.
“The 49ers family has suffered a great loss with the passing of R.C. Owens,” 49ers owner and Chairman John York said. “Long after his days as a player were over, his devotion to the organization remained strong. R.C. was an ever-present supporter of the 49ers Foundation and did great works with the community at large. The San Francisco 49ers and our faithful fans will forever be grateful for his contributions and he will be sincerely missed.”
The 6-foot-3 Mr. Owens, a college basketball star at the College of Idaho, also played two seasons for the Baltimore Colts, and his final year was with the New York Giants in 1964.