• Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

Herald News Report

CINCINNATI – Former NFL player Cornelius Neal Craig died Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. During his football career as a defensive back or strong safety, he played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns.

“Neal is a brother that never forgot where he came from. He built everlasting relationships in his neighborhood, his city, in college (Fisk), NFL, family and fraternity brothers (Kappa Alpha Psi).” said Jim Anderson, a former NFL player and coach for the Bengals.

A Cincinnati native born on April 21, 1948, Craig grew up in the West End and in South Cumminsville. He attended Taft High School and is in it’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. He also played on Fisk’s football team as a defensive back.

Neal Craig. Photo provided

While in Nashville, he met and married Marcia Hall. From that union they had three children, Cornelius Craig III, Qia Craig and Cornell Craig.

In 1971, the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Neal Craig as its 7th round draft pick. After playing for three NFL teams, he retired from the Cleveland Browns in 1976. Leaving football, Craig made a career in Sales working for Heidelberg Distributing, Con-Agra and Letica Corporation.

He was a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi and a member of the Cincinnati Alumni Chapter.

He is survived by his three children, long-time companion Deborah Spradley, daughter, India Crum and granddaughter, Anaya Crum; his sister, Thelma Curtis and many nieces and nephews.