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 30 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: WR Bernard Casey (1961-1966)
First off, for those wondering, the picture above is Lance Schulters. He spent four seasons with the 49ers, drafted in the fourth round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He burst out in a big way in 1999, hauling in six interceptions and earning his lone vote to the Pro Bowl.
However, I'm going to go with an old-timer for who wore it best. Part of it is because of his on-field performance, and part of it is because I just learned some pretty cool information about him. Bernie Casey was a first round pick of the 49ers back in 1961. He bounced around between general wide receiver, flanker and tight end during his time in the NFL. In six seasons with the 49ers, Casey had 277 receptions for 4,008 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Casey departed the 49ers and spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He left the NFL after those two years, apparently not please with the league. I can't find the video in question, but his Wikipedia page mentions an NFL Films piece in which Casey expressed disillusionment with the NFL, "feeling like his creativity and individuality were thwarted by conservative elements in the league and ownership hierarchy.
Casey would began an acting career that led to some fairly notable roles. I don't know much about his 70s work, but in the 80s, he made appearances in Revenge of the Nerds (as U.N. Jefferson, head of the national order of Lambda Lambda Lambda) and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (Bill & Ted's history teacher). It has nothing to do with his NFL career, but it is an intriguing turn for Casey.
Who wears it now: CB Leon McFadden (2014-present)
The San Francisco 49ers have a whole host of young cornerbacks, and it will make for a tough competition behind Tramaine Brock, Shareece Wright, and probably Dontae Johnson. Of the remaining cornerbacks, Leon McFadden has as much "pedigree" as anybody else. He was a third round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2013. After one season, he was released following turnover up and down the organization. He was claimed by the New York Jets on August 31, 2014, and released 12 days later. He signed with the 49ers practice squad in Week 3, and promoted to the 53-man roster Week 9.
McFadden was active the final seven games of the 2014 season, and returns competing for some kind of opportunity in 2015. Keith Reaser and Kenneth Acker will push for opportunities after sitting out last season, and Marcus Cromartie will be in the mix as well. My guess is McFadden does not make the roster, but will get an opportunity somewhere. At the very least, I see him signing when an injury impacts a cornerback depth chart somewhere (hopefully somewhere else!).