49ers All-Time Center

In a less than shocking result, Steve Young blew out the field in the race for the backup QB position, finishing with 91% of the vote.  Not too shabby I'd say.  Later tonight I'll make sure and update the left column with our recent results.

In the meantime, I thought we'd move on to the Center position today.  The 49ers have had some solid centers in their history, particularly since the beginning of the dynasty years.  It's fitting that we vote on this position next considering the recent retirement of former 49er center Jeremy Newberry.  While I have an idea of how the results will end up, a guy like Newberry deserves some recognition for his contributions.  Also, I've added Eric Heitmann to the group.  He's still hopefully got a good deal of time left in his career, but he's definitely stepped up at center and deserves recognition.  I don't know if he'll ever go down as the best center in 49ers history, but he's proven he's very solid at what he does.

Jesse Sapolu (1983-1997): For those of us who came of age in the 80s and 90s, Jesse Sapolu was a rock on the 49ers offensive line.  Sapolu spent 13 seasons with the 49ers and is one of six 49ers to win four Super Bowl rings.  He earned two trips to the Pro Bowl late in his career in 1993 and 1994.  Personally, I can't think of any 49ers who were quietly as popular as Sapolu.  During the 49ers 80s/90s dynasty, the offensive line play was a key factor in the continued success.  Having an anchor like Jesse Sapolu was essential for a quality offensive line.

Forrest Blue (1968-1974): A first round pick of the 49ers in 1968, Blue was named to 4 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1971-1974, as well as first team All-Pro in 1971 and 1972.  Blue was just the second offensive lineman to be drafted by the 49ers in the first round.

Bruce Bosley (1956-1968): Bosley was originally drafted as a defensive end in the second round out of West Virginia.  After being moved to left guard, he settled in at center in 1962, where he produced 3 Pro Bowl appearances and 1 All-Pro selection.  Bosley was referred to as one of the most underrated centers of the '60s and was well respected around the league.

Jeremy Newberry (1999-2005): I've included Newberry based on a combination of his production and potential.  Newberry was a 2-time Pro Bowler before micro-fracture surgery more or less ended his career with the 49ers.  Newberry was always one of my favorite 49ers and if he had remained healthy, I think he would have legitimately challenged Sapolu and Blue as the best center in 49ers history.

Eric Heitmann (2002-2008): Heitmann started out as a guard, before taking over at center when the team cut ties with Jeremy Newberry.  His first full season as center was in 2006 and it ended in December with a broken right tibia.  Heitmann returned in 2007 to play every game.  While he struggled in 2007 in returning to form, 2008 saw Heitmann step up as arguably the best offensive lineman on the team.  Not too shabby for a former seventh round pick.  Heitmann is signed through 2011.

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