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Sports Then and Now



San Francisco 49ers: All-“No” Team, Linemen 3

Posted on October 09, 2009 by Blaine Spence
Jamal Anderson #32

Gabe Wilkins had one sack in two seasons with the 49ers.

Writer’s note: This is the second installment of the San Francisco 49ers All “No” Team; the first can be viewed here: The San Francisco 49ers’ All-“No” Team, Pt. 1: The Skill Positions.

To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough!

— The Rolling Stones, 1978

Please remember that being bad doesn’t always get you on the team, though it does help. The decision to bring you in, or even to release you, might be the deciding factor for this team.

The Defensive Line

Defensive End: Israel Ifeanyi

The 49ers draft of 1996 was one of anticipation.  Having traded their No. 1 pick the previous year for the right to draft wide receiver J.J. Stokes at the No. 10 spot (sound familiar?), the 49ers didn’t have a pick until halfway through the second round.

I remember wondering if ESPN would even get to the pick before they passed the broadcast off to their fledgling sister station—ESPN 2.

The 49ers were in desperate need of pass-rush help after trading Charles Haley to the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and never adequately replacing him.

Who would be the next pass rush specialist in San Francisco?

The name was in: Israel Ifeanyi.

My reaction: “Who the hell is Israel Ifeanyi?”

Judging from Chris Berman’s non-verbal cues as he read the name, his reaction was about the same.

Read the rest of this entry →

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      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

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      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

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