Well, it looks like Merton Hanks has ridden his funky chicken dance to victory as the #2 safety on our all time team. Behind 65% of the vote, it's safe to call it for Hanks.
I've decided to stick with the defensive side of the ball for the next couple of positions and take a look at the outside linebacker position. When we had our initial all-time team ballot, we decided to go with 2 OLBs and 2 ILB/MLBs. The team has played a mix of 3-4 of 4-3 in its history, so we decided to combine the two together and go with a 4-4. It gives us one extra person on defense, but it's not the end of the world.
The highlight of the previous OLB #1 ballot was learning that 49erLou voted for Dave Wilcox in part because Wilcox spoke at his 5th grade "graduation." Is there really a need for any other reason? On to the ballot.
Dave Wilcox (1964-1974): Wilcox is an NFL Hall of Fame linebacker, inducted in 2000. In 11 seasons with the 49ers, Wilcox was named to 7 Pro Bowls and was a 5-time All-NFL player. While I missed out on seeing him play, his Hall of Fame site calls him out as one of the finest linebackers of his era, particularly when it came to jamming the tight end off the line. One of his finest seasons came in 1973 when he recorded 104 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, two interceptions and 13 tackles for a loss. Coaches gave him the nickname "The Intimidator."
Charles Haley (1986-1991, 1998-1999): As much as it stinks that he went to Dallas, Charles Haley was a key part of the back-to-back Super Bowl squads in 1988 and 1989. Also, in going to Dallas, Haley became the only player in NFL history to win 5 Super Bowls. Although things ended tumultuously for him in San Francisco, he took care of business while he was here. Over eight seasons in San Francisco, Haley went to three Pro Bowls, was once a 1st-team All Pro and currently stands fourth in franchise history with 66.5 sacks. He switched to defensive end when he went to Dallas, but as a pass rushing outside linebacker in San Francisco, he was an absolute beast.
Keena Turner (1980-1990): Turner spent 11 seasons with the 49ers serving as a standout linebacker on four Super Bowl teams. Turner's finest season came on the dominant 1984 defense that led the league in points allowed at 14.2 per game. Turner earned a trip to the Pro Bowl behind 4 interceptions, two sacks and general leadership abilities. Since retiring, Turner has remained active in the Bay Area, including doing television work for the 49ers preseason broadcasts In early 2008, Turner was named 49ers Vice President of Football Affairs. The position deals with all aspects of player well being, including counseling and player development programs.
Julian Peterson (2000-2005): Consider this a combination of what he did and what he could have been. I realize this is about production, but I'll always have a soft spot for Julian Peterson. He made a national name for himself when he shut down Tony Gonzalez in 2002, holding the all-world tight end to 1 reception for 6 yards.. Before injuring his achilles tendon (leading to his eventual departure), Peterson was an absolute freak of nature for hte 49ers. How many outside linebackers can capably play linebacker, defensive end, cornerback AND safety? Now, I'm not planning on voting for him but I think he earned a spot on the ballot nonetheless. And I have to say, although the 49ers will face Detroit this year, it's good to have Peterson out of the division.