The San Francisco 49ers held their annual State of the Franchise event on Wednesday, where we heard from several members of the organization.
Here are some news and notes from the event:
- Team president Al Guido announced the team will hold its practices at Levi’s Stadium during training and will allow fans into the building. Guido added that since the 49ers haven’t played in front of their home fans in more than a year, the team will use this opportunity to give the players some reps with people in the stands.
- General manager John Lynch said that he believes the 2021 squad is deeper and more talented than the 2019 team that made it to the Super Bowl.
- Head coach Kyle Shanahan thinks the team has a chance to “do anything that we want,” this season. Shanahan added that his goal his whole life has been to win a Super Bowl and he hopes he can do that in the next few seasons.
- Owner Jed York announced legendary linebacker Patrick Willis and receiver John Taylor will be the 30th and 31st inductees into the team’s Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. Hall of Fame. The 49ers will honor the duo in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons.
From the 49ers’ release on Taylor:
Originally drafted by the 49ers in the third round (76th overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft, Taylor spent his entire 10-year career (1986-95) with the 49ers. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1988 and 1989 and was a member of three Super Bowl Championship teams (Super Bowl XXIII, Super Bowl XXIV and Super Bowl XXIX). A member of the franchise’s Ten-Year Club, Taylor was also the recipient of the team’s Len Eshmont Award in 1991, which is voted on by the players and given to the 49er who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont.
Taylor appeared in 121 games (102 starts) and finished his career with 347 receptions for 5,598 yards, and 43 touchdowns to go along with 149 punt returns for 1,517 yards and two touchdowns. His 149 punt returns are the most in franchise history while his 1,517 punt return yards rank second. He also saw action in 17 postseason games (16 starts) and added 46 receptions for 734 yards and six touchdowns. In addition to being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 1980s All-Decade Team as a punt returner, Taylor is also enshrined in the Black College Football Hall of Fame and the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.
From the 49ers’ release on Willis:
Originally drafted by San Francisco in the first round (11th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft, Willis spent all eight seasons of his NFL career with the 49ers. In addition to being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007, Willis became the first player in 49ers history to be selected as an All-Pro in each of his first six seasons (First Team - 2007, 2009-12; Second Team - 2008). In 2020, Willis was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2010s All-Decade Team.
A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Willis was the first 49ers player since S Ronnie Lott to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons. He also became the first player in franchise history to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first seven seasons. Willis, along with DT Aaron Donald, LB Lawrence Taylor and LB Derrick Thomas, are the only defensive players since the merger in 1970 to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of their first seven seasons.
Willis is a two-time recipient of the Bill Walsh Award, which is voted on by the coaches and awarded to the 49er who best represented the standard of professional excellence established by Walsh. Along with DT Justin Smith and RB Frank Gore, the three are the only two-time winners of the award in team history.
Willis started all 112 games in which he appeared and registered 1,225 tackles, 20.5 sacks, eight interceptions (returning two for touchdowns), 16 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 53 passes defensed. From 2007-14, he was one of two players (DE Julius Peppers) in the NFL with at least 20.0 sacks (20.5), 15 forced fumbles (16) and eight interceptions (eight). Willis also started all eight playoff games and registered 84 tackles, 2.0 sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery and two passes defensed.
- The 49ers will be bringing back their 1994 throwbacks this season! The Niners will wear the ‘94 uniforms six times during the 2021 campaign, with five of those games being primetime matchups. They will wear the red jersey/white pants combination four times at home and the all-white combo on the road twice.
Here is a look at some of the current 49ers and the GOAT in the ‘94 throwbacks.
- Both Lynch and Shanahan are excited about finally having fans back in the building. Shanahan mentioned how weird he found it without fans in 2020 and said it was worse than he ever imagined seeing cardboard cutouts in the stands. Kyle added that he can’t wait to have 80,000 people back at Levi’s in September.