A question popped up on social media over the weekend, asking if you could choose one player to have an injury-free career, who would it be? Answers vary from team to team, with some taking the obvious, like Bo Jackson. If we’re talking about my childhood, the answer is either Penny Hardaway or Grant Hill.
But if we make the question specific to the 49ers, the answer will depend on several variables. How about if we narrowed it down to the previous decade, how would your answer change then?
If that’s the case, as an avid college football watcher, I can’t help but think about how dominant Marcus Lattimore would have been with a clean bill of health in a backfield that featured Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick, while having other weapons such as Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and a personal favorite in Anquan Boldin.
Greg Roman would have never thrown the fa...
Lattimore was spectacular in college. He had highlight run after highlight run, but suffered a gruesome injury where he tore every ligament in his right knee and dislocated his kneecap in 2012. Lattimore would spend the entire 2013 season on the NFI list, which tells you how talented of a runner he was.
An answer everyone may accept is Ted Ginn, solely for the fact that he would have been the returner in the 2011 NFC Championship game. Ginn was spectacular all season, but his injury led to...well, you know.
If we’re thinking in more recent terms, a healthy Jason Verrett would have made for an exciting few seasons. Dee Ford is another one that comes to mind, as the 49ers pass rush put up video game numbers when Ford was on the field.
There will always be the believers in Jalen Hurd after the preseason he had as a rookie.
Chris Borland is an easier answer. And, if we’re sticking to linebacker, Patrick Willis may be an even easier one, although there’s little to imagine since we’ve seen what peak Willis looks like.
I wouldn’t categorize these two under “injury-free,” but Reuben Foster or Aldon Smith were two of the most talented players to step onto a football field, yet we never saw their full potential.
You can do this for any decade if you please. Garrison Hearst with a healthy ankle or Steve Young without multiple concussions in the 90s are other options.
Who is your answer?