Two-time All-American tight end Bennie Cunningham has died at the age of 63, according to officials at Clemson University.
Cunningham played for the Tigers from 1972 to 1975 and became the first African-American player to make an All-American team in school history. Cunningham was also the first African-American player at Clemson to win the Frank Howard Award, which is presented to a player each year for “bringing honor to Clemson.”
Cunningham was named a two-time All-ACC selection. During his four seasons with the Tigers, Cunningham had 64 receptions for 1,044 yards and 10 touchdowns. His seven touchdown catches in 1974 was a school record for nearly 40 years until Dwight Allen eclipsed the mark with eight touchdown catches.
A native of Seneca, Cunningham was selected in the first round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his professional career, he had 202 catches for 2,879 yards and 20 touchdowns. Cunningham also won two Super Bowl championships with the Steelers in 1979 and 1980.
Cunningham was fighting cancer and was in the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio since January.
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