NFL

The Tragic Death of Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back Reggie Cobb

Reggie Cobb was one heck of a running back. Cobb, a 1,000-yard running back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a stellar college football career at Tennessee, went on to become a very successful scout in the NFL. For those who knew Cobb, he was an even better person. Cobb’s lift, however, was cut short last year when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 50. He passed away on April 20, 2019.

Reggie Cobb was a top RB who battled substance abuse

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Reggie Cobb played his college football at Tennessee. His best season was his first one in 1987 when he rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also caught three touchdown passes. His last two seasons were marred by injuries and drugs.

Prior to the 1989 spring practice, Cobb was suspended for failing his third drug test. He completed his drug rehab program and was reinstated by the beginning of the season. In October, Cobb failed another drug test and was dismissed from the team. Despite all the missed time, Cobb left Tennesse third on the all-time rushing list. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a shot with Cobb in the 1990 NFL draft, using a second-round pick on him.

Cobb scored a touchdown in his first NFL game. By his third season in the league, he was a major threat in the backfield. Cobb racked up 1,171 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 1992. He spent four seasons with the Buccaneers before rounding out his career with short stints with the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New York Jets. He finished his NFL career with 25 rushing touchdowns.

Cobb remained in the game as a scout

Reggie Cobb played his final down in the NFL in 1996. After spending some time away from the game, he returned to the NFL as a scout. In 2001, he began his professional scouting career with the Washington Redskins.

Cobb then returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their Southwestern regional scout. He spent six years in Tampa and then became a regional scout with the San Francisco 49ers in 2009. Cobb was named the NFC Scout of the Year for the 2011 season by the Fritz Pollard Alliance.

“I have had the great privilege of working with Reggie while with the 49ers and the Redskins,” 49ers then-general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement released by the team in 2012. “Reggie’s hard work, loyalty and professionalism are qualities I have always appreciated. It is very fitting for him to be recognized in this fashion.”

Cobb’s tragic death in 2019

Reggie Cobb was about to enter his 11th season with the San Francisco 49ers as a scout. At 50 years old, however, Cobb suddenly died of a heart attack on April 20, 2019. His death stunned the football world and he was remembered fondly by colleagues and friends.

“We are devastated by the sudden loss of a tremendous teammate and loyal friend, Reggie Cobb,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement in 2019. “Reggie was an enthusiastic and passionate person who had a special ability to brighten up 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.”

Cobb’s friend, ESPN’s Louis Riddick, said Cobb’s death was “devastating” in a Twitter post. “The passing of Reggie Cobb in a word is devastating,” Riddick wrote. “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.”