Former San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers linebacker Gary Plummer gave an interview with the Talk of Fame Network recently, and he talked at length about the 1987 strike and former 49ers owner Eddie Debartolo, Jr.
The interview coincided with the 30th anniversary of the strike, one of the most tumultuous times in NFL history. Plummer said that, when he was with the Chargers, he was angered by people who crossed the picket line, and didn’t understand why they could do it.
“It was bizarre to me how coaches changed their alliance in a heartbeat. Clearly, the ownership controlled them and signed their checks, so you have to understand that. But there’s so much talked-about loyalty in professional football and ‘we’re a family.’ But family went out the window real quick,” Plummer said.
Plummer changed teams in 1994, signing with the 49ers, and he says that’s where he first truly felt what it’s like to be considered family by an organization. That’s something that the 49ers have tried to preach over the years, but something they haven’t been known for since Eddie D. lost the team.
Scores of former players talk about Eddie D. like he was their family, and Plummer is no different. Just after talking about how he couldn’t understand those who crossed the picket lines when he was with the 49ers, he had this gem:
“And I just never understood it until I went and played for the San Francisco 49ers and understood what Eddie DeBartolo meant to the players. And literally there’s a 49ers’ family with Eddie DeBartolo. And the loyalty is unbelievable.
“Trust me, had I been with the 49ers when that strike happened, I would’ve crossed the picket line the first day. That’s a guy who was willing to do anything for his players, and you wanted to show your loyalty by doing anything for him.”
It’s a good read overall, especially the ending — give it a read. I miss Eddie D!