Earlier today, Vice Sports published an interesting article about Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Joe McCall. The article discusses a knee injury he suffered in the mid-80s, and how the Bucs used sodium pentothal ("truth serum") to find out if he was lying about the injury. The article is a fascinating read into just how shady football teams can be when it comes to the health of their players. I'd imagine plenty has changed, but given the concussion and pain killer lawsuits still in effect, I would not be surprised if some shadiness was still taking place.
I bring the article up for another reason. Early on it mentions that the San Francisco 49ers made a trade offer to the Bucs for the rights to Bo Jackson. The Bucs drafted Jackson with the No. 1 pick of the 1986 NFL Draft, but he had previously told them he had no intention of signing with them. Before they forfeited his rights prior to the 1987 draft, they received a variety of offers for Jackson. The Vice article mentions that the Bucs declined an offer from the 49ers that included safety Ronnie Lott, running back Wendell Tyler and draft picks.
I did some googling, and I came across this 2012 article from our Bucs site, Bucs Nation. In it, they mention the same thing, and specify that the 49ers picks were a first and second. If that is the case, I'm a little surprised the Bucs turned it down. The Bucs Nation article references the owner as being pig-headed in expecting Bo to play for the Bucs.
From what I've read, Bo refused to sign with the Bucs because he believed they tried to sabotage his baseball career so he would play football full time. Bo discussed it in his 30 for 30 on ESPN. He took a flight with the Bucs during college baseball season to discuss his potential football career. The Bucs told him they had cleared it with the NCAA, but Bo was later declared ineligible as the team actually had not cleared it.
Imagine the "what could have been" had the 49ers been able to acquire Bo Jackson? If they had given up their first and second round picks in 1987, it makes for an interesting hypothetical. The 49ers had two first round picks in 1987, which they used on offensive lineman Harris Barton, and running back Terrence Flagler. They used their second round pick on offensive lineman Jeff Bregel. I don't know which of the two picks the 49ers would have given up, but Barton did end up spending 12 years with the 49ers, proving to be a pretty significant piece of the offensive line during that time.
The 49ers did have Roger Craig from 1983 to 1990, so it's not like they had a bad option there. But imagine if they had Craig and Bo in that backfield? I imagine Bo eventually could have surpassed Craig as the starter, but the depth there would have been ridiculous.