The 49ers had their final team meeting Wednesday where the team announced their season awards. Here are the winners:
Len Eshmont Award: TE George Kittle
The Len Eshmont Award is voted on by the players. It is given to the 49er who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team. Eshmont, who coached at Navy and Virginia following his career in San Francisco, died in 1957. The award was established that year.
Bill Walsh Award: DL DeForest Buckner
The Bill Walsh Award was established in 2004 in honor of San Francisco’s Hall of Fame Head Coach. The award, which is voted on by the coaching staff, is given to the 49er who has best represented the standard of professional excellence established by Walsh. Walsh served as the team’s head coach for ten seasons from 1979-88. In that time, he compiled a record of 102-63-1 and led the team to three Super Bowls. He was twice named Coach of the Year (1981, 1984) and was later named Coach of the Decade for the 1980s.
DeFo being voted team MVP by the 49ers coaches tells you all you need to know about his value. They asked him to do a lot this year, even more than last, and he came through. The most impressive part about him is the number of snaps he plays without there being a drop-off in his play.
Bobb McKittrick Award: OL Mike Person
The Bobb McKittrick Award is given annually to the 49ers offensive lineman who best represents the courage, intensity, and sacrifice displayed by the longtime offensive line coach during his 21 years of service to the 49ers. The award was established by the 49ers in 1999 and is voted on by the offensive line.
Hazeltine Iron Man Award: LB Kwon Alexander
The Hazeltine Iron Man Award is named for former linebacker Matt Hazeltine, a 13-year performer who played more seasons at linebacker than any other 49ers player. Known for his durability and dedication, Hazeltine passed away in 1987 from ALS, and Bill Walsh established the award in his honor that year. The award is given annually to the most courageous and inspirational defensive player as voted upon by the defensive coaches.
Durability is questionable, but the dedication Alexander showed was unmatched this season. I can’t remember the last time I saw a team take on the persona of a player like the 49ers did with Alexander.
Thomas Herrion Memorial Award: LB Dre Greenlaw
Thomas Herrion Memorial Award was established in 2005 by 49ers owners Denise and John York and is presented to a rookie or first-year player who best represents the dream of Thomas Herrion. The recipient has taken advantage of every opportunity, turned it into a positive situation, and made their dream turn into a reality. The award is voted on by the coaches.
Greenlaw took advantage of his opportunity from the very first minicamp practice and never looked back. He made Malcolm Smith expendable and played so well that he kept Alexander off the field on passing downs.
Ed Block Courage Award: DL Solomon Thomas
The Ed Block Courage Award is named after Ed Block, the former head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts of 23 years. Block was a pioneer in his profession, and a respected humanitarian whose most passionate cause was helping children of abuse. The award is presented in his name each year to the player that exemplified a commitment to sportsmanship and courage. Ed Block Courage Award winners from each of the 32 NFL teams are honored at a banquet in Baltimore, MD. All proceeds from the event benefit the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation’s Courage House National Support Network. Named after the NFL team in a respective NFL city, a Courage House is a facility that provides support and quality care for abused children and their families in that community. The 49ers dedicated their Courage House in October 2003 at the Edgewood House in San Francisco.
Perry/Yonamine Unity Award: OL Ben Garland
The Perry/Yonamine Award is presented to the 49ers player who exhibits an exceptional commitment to promoting unity within the team and in their community. The Perry/Yonamine Unity Award is named for the former 49ers players and pioneers of unity and diversity, Joe “The Jet” Perry and Wally Yonamine, and is voted on by the players.
Community Relations Service Awards
Together, players from the San Francisco 49ers provided over 800 hours of community service in 2019. Top participants and winners of the Community Relations Service Awards were OL Ben Garland with this season’s veteran player award, LB Azeez Al-Shaair with the rookie player award, RB Raheem Mostert and his wife Devon and son Gunnar, as the recipients of the family award for the third consecutive season. 49ers OL Daniel Brunskill received the youth football ambassador award while 49ers general manager John Lynch won the 49ers NFL Salute to Service Award for the third consecutive season. Ian Williams was presented with the alumnus award.
Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee: CB Richard Sherman
The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, named after the late Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears, is given annually to the player who best exemplifies a commitment to philanthropy and community involvement.
Garry Niver Award: CB Richard Sherman
The Garry Niver Award is presented annually by the San Francisco Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America to a 49ers’ player for his cooperation and professional style in helping the pro football writers do their jobs. The award is named after pro football writer, Garry Niver, who was a longtime beat writer who covered the 49ers for the San Mateo Times.
Even after a Super Bowl loss, Sherman, who was visibly frustrated, answered all the questions and did not shy away from his mistakes. The ownership that Sherman has shown rubbed off on the rest of the team.