Former 49ers Sanders and Dent voted into HOF


Former 49ers Sanders and Dent voted into HOF

Feb. 5, 2011

DALLAS (AP) Deion Sanders always was Prime Time. Now he's All Time.Sanders and Marshall Faulk led a class of seven voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Joining them were Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Ed Sabol, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger.As talkative as he was talented, known as much for his celebration dances as his interceptions and kick returns, Sanders was an outstanding cornerback and sometime wide receiver with five teams. He's a two-time Super Bowl winner and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1994.Sanders reacted to his election with typical Neon Deion bravado. He said he's grateful, but then made sure to explain, "what you feel about me has nothing to do with how I feel about me."Then he broke into the open field."Next to the Bible, my favorite book was The Little Engine That Could.' I read that story so many times, I know it by heart," he said. "And a couple trains passed that engine until he started saying to himself: 'I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.' And that's what I modeled my career after. I mean, it sounds arrogant, it sounds brash, it sounds cocky. But it was real."Sanders also played major league baseball. But football clearly was his calling."He was an electrifying performer who put fans on the edge of their seats every time he manned his cornerback position or dropped back to receive a kickoff or field a punt," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. "Deion is, without question, one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL."Sanders got in a comical dig at Faulk and Sharpe."Man, this is real," he said, "and I got to see Marshall Faulk and Shannon Sharpe cry."Faulk won a Super Bowl with the 1999 Rams, was the 1994 Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2000 NFL MVP and a three-time Offensive Player of the Year (1999-2001). Faulk is the 10th leading career rusher with 12,279 yards, and for a half-dozen seasons was the most versatile back in football, as much a threat as a receiver as a runner."I wanted the ball in my hands so I could so something with it," Faulk said, recalling how he briefly played quarterback in high school and didn't find it exciting enough.Faulk got teary-eyed when asked how his mother reacted to his election.Sharpe starred for Denver and Baltimore for 14 seasons and won three Super Bowls in a four-year span, two with Denver, one with Baltimore. He held league records for a tight end in receptions, yards and touchdowns when he retired in 2001."If I had a thousand tongues, I couldn't say how happy and proud I am," Sharpe said. "I don't know what I did to deserve this.John Elway knew."This caps off a tremendous football career by a guy who truly was self-made and worked his tail off to become one of the best players in the history of the NFL," said Elway, who was Sharpe's quarterback in Denver.Sharpe always knew football was going to be his profession."If you are going to have letters behind your name, I wasn't going to have M.D. or PhD. HOF is pretty good," he said.Bears defensive end Dent was the MVP of the 1986 Super Bowl and finished with 137 12 career sacks. He was the top pass rusher on one of the NFL's greatest defensive units. Dent became a starter in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he made 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons."It was a long time coming, I am very happy," Dent said. "If you can do your thing the way (Walter Payton) did his, you can be in the Hall of Fame. I am so thankful for this."Dent also won a Super Bowl in 1994 with the 49ers.Richter played linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams from 1954-62. They traded 11 players for him and waited two years while he was in the military before he suited up. He made the wait worthwhile , going to eight straight Pro Bowls. He also was a center and kicker.Richter died last June."Les was a tough, hard-nosed football player who gave it his all on every play and in every practice," Hall of Famer Deacon Jones recalled of Richter. "He knocked the hell out of people. I mean, he'd really hit you. Les Richter was a great teammate."Hanburger spent all 14 pro seasons with the Redskins and played in nine Pro Bowls. He played from 1965-78 and was called "The Hangman." He was known for using clothesline tackles that eventually were outlawed."It's wonderful. I am just overwhelmed. It's such a tremendous honor to be nominated, let alone get in," Hanburger said. "Have to think of all the men who played before me and all the men I played with."Sabol founded NFL Films and was selected as a contributor. Under his guidance, NFL Films received 52 Emmy Awards.The finalists who did not get in were Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed and Willie Roaf.Induction ceremonies are Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.

49ers release Ian Williams

49ers release Ian Williams

The 49ers on Thursday released nose tackle Ian Williams off the reserve/non-football injury list with an injury settlement.

The move, which was disclosed on the NFL, daily transaction report, is a procedural move, according to sources. It allows the 49ers to provide Williams with more compensation than he would have received if he had remained on reserve/non-football injury for the entire season. The move does not preclude the 49ers from re-signing Williams in the future.

The 49ers originally agreed to a five-year contract extension with Williams in the offseason. However, the contract was amended to a one-year deal after he underwent a team physical after undergoing surgery on his left leg.

Williams, 26, is a five-year NFL veteran. He originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie from Notre Dame in 2011.

He played his first 16-game season in 2015. He ranked third on the 49ers with 85 total tackles, according to the stats compiled by the coaching staff.

Williams took over as the 49ers’ starting nose tackle in 2013 after the free-agent departure of Isaac Sopoaga.

But he started just 10 games over the next two seasons due to two fractures of his lower leg.

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly's offense with the 49ers is his slowest-paced version of his four NFL seasons.


“I think that’s what fits with this group of guys we have on the offensive side of the ball,” Kelly said this week.

Kelly did not expound on that thought. But it could be safe to assume his thinking is the same reason why it does not make sense to enter a Ford Pinto to race against pro stock dragsters.

The 49ers’ offense is running more plays this season. The 49ers snap the ball every 24.4 seconds on offense. That’s down from 26.1 seconds last season, and 29.7 seconds in Jim Harbaugh’s final season in 2014.

Last season in Philadelphia, Kelly’s team snapped the ball every 22.6 seconds. In Kelly’s final season at Oregon in 2012, the Ducks snapped the ball every 20.5 seconds.

“I don’t think we’re playing fast right now,” Kelly said. “So if someone said, ‘How are you playing offensively?’ I don’t think we’re playing fast offensively. I think we’re just not going back (to huddle). We’re saving seven yards of run time for our offensive line because they don’t have to run back in the huddle, get a play called and then do it.

“We’re just calling it at the line of scrimmage. So I think it’s a lot of what Denver used to do when Peyton (Manning) was there. But there’s a lot of times that we’re under 15 seconds when we’re snapping the ball and getting the play off. So we’re not playing fast and we’re not calling tempo-type plays in those situations. We’re just calling plays.”

Kelly said part of the problem is that the 49ers are not converting third downs. The team has a 36.3 percent success rate on third downs, which is actually an improvement over the 30.5 percent success of last season.

But the 49ers’ overall lack of offensive success this season cannot be camouflaged.

The 49ers are averaging just 4.5 yards per play. The 49ers have not averaged fewer than 5 yards per play since 2007, when Alex Smith sustained a shoulder injury and was replaced by Trent Dilfer.

While the 49ers are running more offensive plays than it has in the past, so is the opposition. The 49ers have averaged 64.3 plays per game. The 49ers have defended 69.9 plays per game – only 2.3 more plays than last season but 8.1 more plays than in 2014.

The biggest problem for the offense has been its run defense. The league’s worst run defense has surrendered 185.1 yards per game and is on pace to give up 2,962 yards this season, which would be the most in the NFL since the 1980 New Orleans Saints yielded 3,106 rushing yards.