clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Former 49ers WR Billy Wilson passes away

As has been making the rounds, former 49ers WR Billy Wilson passed away earlier this morning, just shy of his 82nd birthday.  You can find similar information at Maiocco and Barrows blog, but I'm throwing this up to hopefully get some memories from the older crowd here.  All I know about him is what I can scrounge up on the Internet, so anybody who saw him play or knows stories about him, feel free to throw them out there.

Wilson was included in our voting for the #2 WR on our All-Time team, but faced an uphill battle given the time frame in which he played.  Nonetheless, given that time, he put up some very solid numbers.  He led the league in receptions three times, made six Pro Bowls and won an MVP award in 1957. Over at Barrows blog, he had a 2004 quotation from Wilson:

"I don't control things like that." Wilson told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2004 when asked about the hall of fame. "But I've had people tell me that I'm the most qualified player who's not in. A lot of people have pushed me in the last year or so."

Here are some other past quotations from all-time greats:

Bob St. Clair
"Billy had hands like glue.  His ability to run after the catch was amazing. He is probably one of the most underrated players in NFL history."

Bill Walsh
"Billy had speed and incomparable agility.  No one could go up for a ball like he could in traffic. He was also one of the best blocking receivers the game has seen."

Y.A. Tittle
"He was one of the fiercest competitors I ever played with.  He was our #1 receiver. Whenever we needed a big catch, I went to him, because I knew he would make the play."

Don Shula
"I remember a play Billy made when he caught a pass, leaped straight up into the air over myself and two other defenders and ran it in for a touchdown.  It was a great play and he truly was a great receiver. He is one of the few players of another era that would excel today."