Give Tom Osborne credit for reading between the lines.
It was the summer of 1959 and he was a young quarterback looking to latch on with the San Francisco 49ers. Problem was, there were a couple of talented players in front of him on the depth chart, and they weren’t going anywhere any time soon.
“Red Hickey was the coach and he called me into his office,” Osborne said. “He said, ‘We’ve got two quarterbacks – Y.A. Tittle and John Brodie – and we’re only going to keep two. If you think you can beat one of them out, go ahead and do it.’
“I kind of got the drift of what he was saying, so I just said, ‘Well, I guess I could try to be a receiver.’”
Tags: Tom Osborne
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The 49ers have been long-time benefactors of Tom Osborne’s Nebraska football programs over the years. The iconic college football coach won three national titles during his 25-year reign at the helm of Nebraska’s program, and also helped mold a select group of players into future 49ers.
Not only did Osborne recruit Roger Craig and Jamie Williams out of Davenport Central High School in Iowa, but he recruited Tom Rathman out of Grand Island, Neb., a city about two hours away from Lincoln.
“We offered him fairly early and he accepted,” Osborne said of Rathman. “But if he had lived in Chicago or someplace, he would have had 30 or 40 schools after him.”
Tags: Tom Osborne, Tom Rathman
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The 49ers made quite the splash during the offseason, adding several explosive wide receivers through free agency and the draft. As the team gets prepared for training camp, some observers are labeling this year’s crop of wideouts as one of the best in franchise history.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com recently wrote the strong statement, “The 49ers have never had a group of wide receivers as deep and talented as the one they had sprinting around their practice field during their seven weeks of practices this offseason.” Above all, Maiocco said he’s been most impressed with Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, saying they set the pace for the rest of the position group.
Today’s Morning Tailgate features headlines from 49ers receivers ranging from R.C. Owens to Joe Hastings to Randy Moss, with a bit of defensive flavor mixed in for good measure.
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Running back Brandon Jacobs made good on his promise to six-year-old Joseph Alemnto, the young New York Giants fan who emptied his piggy bank and sent Jacobs $3.36 to try to convince him to stay in The Big Apple. According to the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows, Jacobs took Almento to the Jump On In bounce house in Boonton, N.J. on Wednesday.
Almento and his four-year-old brother spent nearly two hours bouncing on the inflatable castles with Jacobs and his five-year-old son Brayden.
“He told me he really wanted to get out there with the kids,” Julie Armento, Joseph’s mother, told The Bee. “He really wanted to enjoy it, and he did. It was amazing.”
Jacobs also repaid Almento…with interest. The young Giants fan turned his $3.36 into $5.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Brandon Jacobs, Justin Smith
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It’s officially the first day of summer and that means 49ers football is right around the corner. How good does that sound?
Before we can get to training camp (36 days away, but who’s counting?), let’s take a look at the latest 49ers headlines, beginning with the latest from Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, who will analyze each position group on the roster. First up, the quarterbacks.
The tenured 49ers beat writer believes Alex Smith “completely passed the eyeball test as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback.” Maiocco noted that the eighth-year pro looked more comfortable than any other 49ers quarterback over the offseason. Smith’s performances in two-minute scenarios especially impressed Maiocco.
Another observation from Maiocco worth passing along dealt with Smith’s growth at the position:
“Smith’s accuracy and anticipation seemed to progress throughout the seven week of practices, including the execution of back-shoulder throws.”
More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Alex Smith, R.C. Owens, Randy Moss, Ricky Jean-Francois, Rock Cartwright
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Today’s Morning Tailgate only features headlines regarding the recent passing of Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer, R.C. Owens.
The player and 49ers front office member affectionately known as “Oop,” carved out several memorable moments in his life. (Pictured above is Owens’ first ever “Alley Oop” catch against the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 6, 1957). Dan Brown of The San Jose Mercury News recounted some of those stories and also caught up with 49ers historian Donn Sinn for some incredible details on Owens’ 49ers career.
According to Shinn, Owens was one of the first NFL players to challenge free agency. Owens, a dangerous vertical threat at the wide receiver position, also became one of the league’s first players to utilize gloves.
“Owens was also a pioneer in the use of gloves for pass catching during cold weather games,” Brown wrote in a recent post. “This was a practice that he developed during his years while playing for the College of Idaho. 49ers’ coach Howard ‘Red’ Hickey discouraged Owens from the practice of utilizing gloves saying “This is the NFL, son.”
More Owens headlines can be found after the jump.
Tags: Jed York, R.C. Owens
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The 49ers family lost an all-time great in the team’s rich history on Sunday, as R.C. Owens passed away peacefully at the age of 77.
With his nickname of “Alley Oop” and his infectious smile, Owens was part of the 49ers family for parts of seven decades, dating back to his playing days in the 1950s. A talented athlete who was a three-sport star at the College of Idaho, Owens became a show-stopping NFL wide receiver and enjoyed an eight-year career, including five seasons with the 49ers.
But Owens’ impact with the organization went far beyond the playing field. From 1979-2001, Owens was a key contributor for the franchise, serving various roles including Director of Training Camp and Director of Alumni Relations. It all came full circle in 2011, as Owens and Roger Craig were inducted in to the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., 49ers Hall of Fame.
Tags: R.C. Owens
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The 49ers Faithful celebrated Father’s Day this weekend and shared their favorite photos of their #NinerDads on Twitter. Check out @49ers to see some of the best pictures submitted on Sunday.
The holiday also held a special meaning for sixth-year CB Tarell Brown, who lost his father to a heart attack shortly before being drafted by the 49ers in 2007. Brown spoke to Nate Kuester of National Football Authority recently and spoke about the strong relationship Brown had with his late father, who inspired him to play football at a young age.
Things are a bit quieter now around 49ers headquarters with the conclusion of veteran minicamp, but 49ers.com has you covered with a wrap up of the last team-wide action until training camp. Those headlines — plus a trip down memory lane with Joe Montana and Steve Young — can be found after the jump.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Joe Montana, Randy Moss, Steve Young, Tarell Brown
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Big news from Jim Harbaugh came at the conclusion of Thursday’s minicamp finale: The San Francisco 49ers will once again spend a week in Youngstown, Ohio, to prepare in between Week 3 and 4 East Coast road matchups against the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets.
But before the Morning Tailgate dives into the announcement from the 49ers coach, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks offered a must-read review of the 49ers recent veteran minicamp.
According to Brooks, Alex Smith’s play continues to evolve.
“Smith was more decisive in the pocket and appeared to have a strong grasp of where to go with the ball on each play,” Brooks wrote.
Brooks referenced a short red zone touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree that demonstrated the quarterback’s willingness and confidence to drive the football into tight throwing windows. In addition to Smith, Brooks praised San Francisco’s revamped receiving corps, including Randy Moss’ contributions, and the creative play-calling from coordinator Greg Roman.
Brooks’ report is summed up best with his closing line: “The Niners showcased clever strategies last season, but now they have the pieces to really give opposing defenses fits.”
More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Alex Smith, Donte Whitner, Harris Barton, Jim Harbaugh, Randy Moss
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