Former San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young is among several first year eligible players for the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame. Young played fourteen seasons for the 49ers from 1994 through 2007. Young was also part of the last 49ers team to win a super bowl in 1994. The former first round pick out of Notre Dame finished his career with 89.5 sacks. He was elected to four Pro Bowls in his career with San Francisco.
Young, currently serving as the defensive line coach for the University of Florida, is joined by other first year eligible defensive linemen such as Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan. However, several other players and front office personnel who spent time with the 49ers organization are also nominated for the upcoming Hall of Fame class. Eleven of the 127 nominees have spent at least one year with the 49ers.
The other former 49ers who have been nominated are: guard Larry Allen, kicker Gary Anderson, running back Roger Craig, owner Ed DeBartolo Jr., linebacker Kevin Greene, defensive end Charles Haley, defensive end Charles Mann, nose tackle Fred Smerlas, defensive tackle Ted Washington and running back Ricky Watters. Allen and Washington are first year eligible players as well.
All nominees deserve to be in the conversation, but it is somewhat surprising to see some of the former 49ers nominated still awaiting entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Names like Craig, DeBartolo and Haley, who were part of several championship teams with the organization, are some who definitely deserve to be enshrined.
Young leads the way for past 49ers in this year's class as a first year nominee, but several deserving players who were holdovers from previous nominations remain, such as wide receivers Tim Brown and Cris Carter, making it difficult for former 49er holdovers to make it into Canton. Four to seven will be selected for induction next year, limiting the chances for many of these greats. Even Young will be challenged by fellow first year eligibles in Allen, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, Sapp, Strahan and Washington. The nominations are an honor though, and bring each of these former greats one step closer to ultimate recognition.
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