The San Francisco 49ers kick off the 2015 NFL regular season on Monday Night Football, on September 14. That game. means San Francisco is now a mere 50 days away from kicking off its 2015 regular season. In the spirit of that approaching date, I thought I would steal this idea from our Oakland Raiders site.
Who wore it best: LB Ed Beard (1965-1972)
The San Francisco 49ers have had an extensive list of players wear number 50. They have not had a ridiculously great standout on the list, but they've had a lot of very solid role players. The best example most recently would be Derek Smith. He joined the 49ers on the tail end of the Mariucci era, and was a stalwart on some bad to awful 49ers squads when Dennis Erickson and Mike Nolan were running things. He was a tackling machine, but was a good example of why counting tackles is not the best way to measure a player.
One of my favorite 49ers was Gary Plummer. He wore No. 50 from 1994 to 1997. He was one of many free agent additions that helped the 49ers finally get over the hump against Dallas and claim Lombardi No. 5. Plummer's best years were in San Diego, but he was a solid contributor to the 49ers.
The guy in the picture is Riki Ellison. He leads the team in PFR's AV among players to wear No. 50, but I decided to go in the way-back machine to give some love to Ed Beard. The linebacker was not a significant starter for the 49ers, apparently only starting three of his eight seasons. However, during his time, he was the first special teams captain in NFL history, and won the Len Eshmont Award in 1971. The award is viewed as the most prestigious among the 49ers team honors, and goes to the player who best exemplifies the "inspirational and courageous play" of Len Eshmont.
Who wears it now: LB Nick Bellore (2015-present)
No. 50 comes with a twist lately. Chris Borland sported it last year, and most probably thought he would be wearing it for some time to come. With Borland's retirement, Nick Bellore takes over the number in 2015. It is fitting in a way given Ed Beard's work as a special teams player. Bellore is a linebacker, but he is expected to compete primarily for a role on special teams. The 49ers hired Bellore's 2014 special teams coach, which seemingly bodes well for him. It does not guarantee him a roster spot, but it probably helps.