The late Cedrick Hardman, hard-charging pass rusher who played for the 49ers and Raiders in a 12-year NFL career, left instructions to have his brain donated to the Brain Bank at Boston University, the world’s largest CTE brain bank.
The institution studies concussions and their effects on athletes, especially football players.
Hardman died Friday at 70.
The donation, and the revelation that Hardman died from pancreatic cancer, was announced in a press release from Sack Masters Inc., which bills itself as pro football’s exclusive 100-sack club. According to its web site, the club seeks to promote knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the quarterback sack.
In an email, club organizer Don West, Jr. said Hardman helped organize Sack Masters Inc. West also wrote that he counted Hardman “among one of my closest and dearest friends.”
According to West, Hardman wished to have his brain donated, saying, “I am doing this because I think it can do some good. I know that I would like to know what is going on with me, and by doing this it may help provide some answers for me and others to come.”
West said he assisted Hardman’s son Clayton in arranging the donation.
Documenting pass rushers with 100 or more sacks is no easy task. The NFL didn’t recognize the sack as an official statistic until 1982 — one year after Hardman’s retirement. To arrive at totals for pass rushers who predate (or whose careers straddle) the 1982 season, the club relies on stats compiled by football historian John M. Turney. As of the end of the 2018 season, Sack Masters Inc. recognizes 54 NFL defenders who achieved at least 100 sacks.
Hardman, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, is tied for 30th with Clyde Simmons with 121.5 sacks. Bruce Smith is at the top of the heap with 200.
In addition to compiling sacks, Sack Masters Inc. organizes defensive lineman elite skills development camps and meet the legends events and fundraisers.