The balloting is closing in on 700 votes and I think we can just about call the #1 OLB position for Charles Haley. It's worth noting that since the last vote, Haley dropped 10%, with Keena Turner being the primary beneficiary. People have pushed for Dave Wilcox (then and now) but Turner has the advantage of playing during the dynasty years and also continuing to work for the 49ers now. Plenty of face time for him.
We now move on to the second outside linebacker on our squad. The remaining 3 contenders all bring something special to the table. Wilcox is a Hall of Fame linebacker; Turner was a big part of those championship defenses; and Julian Peterson was an absolute athletic freak.
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."
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.