49ers undrafted free agent Darren Crawford may be a name that doesn’t sound too familiar, but here’s one that is: his grandfather, Fred Dean. A very bad man at defensive end, Dean came to the 49ers in 1981 after tensions boiled over with the (then) San Diego Chargers. After a midseason trade that left the Chargers hurting, Dean saw two Super Bowls with the 49ers and later went onto the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ronnie Lott later admitted that he was intimidated by Dean (knowing he’d lose in a fight straight up) in the 1981 49ers episode of America’s game, going on to say “James Dean wasn’t cooler than Fred Dean.”
And now his grandson will be trying to continue the legacy. Unlike his grandfather, Crawford was not drafted and will be fighting the uphill battle to get some playing time. Given that he’s got the genes to make a name for himself, Crawford’s development will definitely be something to watch.
Below are the timestamps of Crawford’s latest interview at the podium and there’s a lot of reminiscing about the family and football. If there’s anywhere Crawford could have gone, the 49ers definitely know what his family would be capable of. If you want to watch the interview in full you can go here.
00:00 - Family ties in his decision/legacy with the 49ers
01:30 - When it dawned on him about his grandfather’s legacy with the 49ers
02:03 - Bizzarre stories about his grandfather
02:47 - On Louisinana Tech recruiting him
03:15 - The famous story of Dean smoking a cigarette at halftime
03:37 - Thoughts on trying to make the NFL
04:08 - Other teams that may have courted him/the call from the 49ers
04:40 - Skills he brings to the table