Return specialist Allen Rossum made sure to let the fans know just how much they mean to him during the first of two training camp practices on Sunday. During one of the last plays of the special teams period, Rossum fielded a punt and ran towards the right sideline. After the play, he picked out one lucky fan in the front row and did his best impersonation of “Mean” Joe Green in the 1980 Super Bowl commercial.
“Hey kid, catch!”
Rossum tossed the ball to young Jalen, whose face instantly lit up.
“He was really excited,” said Frederika Angus, who brought Jalen out to practice. “He plays wide receiver for his little league team so this is really exciting for him.”
It definitely won Rossum a new fan.
“I’ve always been a 49ers fan, but I’m definitely going to cheer a little bit harder for Allen Rossum now,” Angus said.
Similar to the expression Jalen had when he received the ball, Rossum also lit up when hearing about his new supporter.
“That brings a smile to my face and chills down my body because that’s what it’s all about – when you can make a difference in someone’s life like that,” Rossum said. “Maybe it can inspire him to achieve things when he’s older. That made me feel good. You never know what moment in someone’s life is going to change them for the better.”
After practice, Rossum made sure to sign autographs for the fans. He first found Jalen and then signed for the fans around him.
“He was just smiling the whole entire time – little Jalen,” Rossum said. “It was a good thing that I was able to do that for him.”
While Jalen will always remember the name Allen Rossum, some fans were having a difficult time figuring out the name of the team’s newest wide receiver.
While filming a “From the Bleachers” segment for TV49, a fan asked, “Who is No. 9?”
I informed them that No. 9 is Chris Francies, who joined the team on Friday.
“We didn’t know his name, but we knew he got here last night. We’ve been calling him our diamond in the rough and that’s a song by Anthony Hamilton so this lady next to me said, ‘His name is now Tony,’” remarked Phillip Askew.
Several fans in the section then began shouting “Go Tony!” though Francies had no way to know those cheers were actually for him. But whether the fans are yelling a player’s name or one they made up, the players appreciate the support.
“Having them here feels good because they get a chance to see us up close,” Rossum said. “We can hear all of their comments, especially when we’re stretching. They let you know when someone makes a play against you as well. It gives us a little more energy and a little more incentive to make a play.”
After practicing Friday afternoon in shells and shorts, the team was back in full pads Saturday morning. They have one more practice this afternoon, which is also open to the fans.
Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye spoke to the team after practice. You can watch his press conference on TV49.
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Tags: Allen Rossum, Chris Francies, jimmy Raye
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