Parys Haralson, who played for Tennessee Vols, 49ers, Saints, dies at 37

Phil Kaplan
Knoxville News Sentinel

Parys Haralson, who played at Tennessee and later nine years in the NFL, has died.  He was 37.

Haralson attended Madison Central High School in Madison, Mississippi. 

Haralson was a defensive end for the Vols from 2002-05 and was a two-time captain.

Tennessee defensive end Parys Haralson (98) sacks Mississippi quarterback Micheal Spurlock (16) in the Volunteers' 27-10 win Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee's defensive line has been one of the Tennessee's strengths this season and has helped the team lead the Southeastern Conference in rush defense. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

He finished his career with 21 sacks, good for sixth all-time at UT.

Haralson was a fifth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers moved Haralson to linebacker, and he made 68 starts. He made 295 tackles, had 21.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries.

Haralson played his final two seasons with New Orleans after he was acquired in trade with the 49ers before the start of the 2013 regular season. His career totals were 88 starts with 380 tackles, 28.0 sacks and five fumble recoveries.

New Orleans Saints' Parys Haralson (98) before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. The Panthers won 17-13. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

He later rejoined the 49ers as the team's director of player engagement for two years (2016-17).

"The 49ers are heartbroken and shocked by the news of Parys' tragic passing," the 49ers said in a statement. "Parys was a beloved member of our organization that lived life with an extraordinary amount of passion and joy, while leaving an indelible mark on everyone he came across. We extend our condolences to Parys' family and loved ones."

Rated 71st in the nation, Haralson played both defensive end and linebacker in high school.

Haralson was a two-time first-team All-State selection, and helped lead Madison Central to the Class 5A state championship as a sophomore starter.

He graduated from Tennessee in 2005, which was important to his mother, Jennifer Rosell. It took just 3 1/2 years to complete a degree in sociology with a concentration on criminal justice.

"Some guys fail out (of school)," Haralson told the News Sentinel in December of 2005 after the fall commencement ceremony. "That wasn't even an option for me. I knew I couldn't fail out.

"If I did fail out, I wouldn't have been able to go back to (Flora) Mississippi and live with her."