The all-time 49ers-only Top 10 list

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The all-time 49ers-only Top 10 list

The question came in via Twitter last week around the time the Hall of Fame voting was the topic of conversation among 49ers fans:Who do you think is the best player to ever play his whole career in a 49er uniform? (@Kevnkate)It's a great topic. And it's one that, obviously, precludes the great 49ers who played for other franchises, such as Joe Montana (Chiefs), Jerry Rice (Raiders, Seahawks), Ronnie Lott (Raiders, Jets), Steve Young (Buccaneers), Roger Craig (Raiders, Vikings), Joe "The Jet" Perry (Colts), Hugh McElhenny (Vikings, Giants, Lions) and Y.A. Tittle (Giants).
It's impossible to compare players from different eras because the game has changed so much. But in cobbling together the list, particular weight is given to ex-49ers enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Current players were not considered.So here is my highly debatable ranking of the top 49ers to play their entire careers with the 49ers:Who is in your 49ers-Only Top 10?
1. DT Leo Nomellini: He was the 49ers' first draft choice after joining the NFL, and he played every game for 14 seasons. He earned 10 trips to the Pro Bowl, and was a six-time first-team All-Pro -- two years on offense and four years on defense. He was a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer, inducted in 1969.2. CB Jimmy Johnson: Recognized as one of the best man coverage corners of his time, opposing quarterbacks were reluctant to throw his way. Still, he recorded 47 interceptions in his career. He was named All-Pro four consecutive seasons from 1969 through 1972. He played in three Pro Bowls and missed two others because of injuries. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.3. T Bob St. Clair: The San Francisco native was named first- or second-team All-NFL nine times in his career and was selected to play in five Pro Bowls. He had uncommon size and speed during the time in which he played. And, yes, it's true that he still eats raw meat. In 1956, he blocked 10 field goals, and once lost five teeth while blocking a punt. Injuries cut short his career. He played 11 seasons, ending in 1963. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.4. LB Dave Wilcox: Twenty-six years after his career concluded, Wilcox was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000 through the Seniors Committee. Nicknamed "The Intimidator" because of his fierce style of play, Wilcox was named to the All-NFL first- or second-team eight times in his career. He chosen to play in seven Pro Bowls.5. DT Bryant Young: The first word that jumps to mind when thinking about Young is "class." He played 14 seasons for the 49ers, and always acted in a truly professional manner through the good and the bad seasons. He started every game he appeared throughout his career, beginning with the Super Bowl-winning year of 1994. Next year, he'll join a class of first-time eligible Hall of Famers that includes Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan. It'll be difficult. He was selected to four Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro once in his career. Since 1982, when it became an official NFL statistic, Young leads the 49ers with 89.5 sacks. He is currently defensive line coach at the University of Florida. 6. WR Dwight Clark: He did a lot more than come down with "The Catch." He had five consecutive seasons from 1980 to '84 with 840 or more yards receiving. That streak ended in 1985, a season in which he caught a career-high 10 touchdown passes.7. TE Brent Jones: He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times in his 11-year career and was a staple of the league's best offense from the late 1980s through most of the 1990s. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the fifth round of the 1986 draft, but he only played regular-season games with the 49ers.8. WR John Taylor: He twice eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving and he was named to two Pro Bowl teams despite playing his career in Jerry Rice's shadow. Of course, he had one of the big catches in team history with a 10-yard reception from Joe Montana in the closing minute to win Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals.9. GC Randy Cross: He started 180 games for the 49ers at center and guard from 1976 through 1988. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times in his career, and excelled on three Super Bowl lines.10. QB John Brodie: His stats do not translate very well to today's game, in which there's a premium on completion percentage, touchdowninterception margin and passer rating. But for longevity, Brodie can't be topped. He entered the league with the 49ers in 1957 and he was with the team through the 1973 season. His 17 seasons with the 49ers is a club record.Honorable mention
T Harris Barton (1987-96)
DT Michael Carter (1984-92)
PK Tommy Davis (1959-69)
T Keith Fahnhorst (1974-87)
C Bill Johnson (1948-56)
DT Charlie Krueger (1959-73)
LB Frank Nunley (1967-76)
C Fred Quillan (1978-87)
T Len Rohde (1960-74)
G Jesse Sapolu (1983-97)
WRK Gordy Soltau (1950-58)
CB Bruce Taylor (1970-77)
LB Keena Turner (1980-90)
WR Billy Wilson (1951-60)
CB Eric Wright (1981-90)

Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

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Dial set to return for 49ers; Patton, Lynch questionable

Defensive lineman Quinton Dial, who sat out last week’s game with knee and neck issues, will return to action Sunday for the 49ers at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.

Dial was not listed on the team’s injury report after going through two limited practices this week. The 49ers had only a walk-through Friday in Orlando, Fla., but Dial was cleared to return to full activity, the team reported.

Wide receiver Quinton Patton (concussion) and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) were both listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Patton appears to be on pace to be cleared in the NFL’s return-to-play concussion protocol. He has returned to non-contact football activity after sustaining a head injury last week against the Miami Dolphins.

Lynch has already missed four consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain. Lynch has appeared in only three games this season. He sat out the first four games of the year while serving a four-game suspension for violating the leageu’s policy of substances of abuse.

The Bears listed six players as questionable for the game, including outside linebackers Willie Young and rookie Leonard Floyd. Young leads Chicago with 6.5 sacks, while Floyd is second with five sacks.

Quarterback Jay Cutler has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Matt Barkley will make his second career start.

49ERS
Questionable
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
WR Quinton Patton (concussion)

BEARS
Out
QB Jay Cutler (right shoulder)
Questionable
LB Willie Young (knee)
S Adrian Amos (foot)
WR Eddie Royal (toe)
LB Leonard Floyd (concussion)
CB Deiondre' Hall (ankle)
G Josh Sitton (ankle)

Vance McDonald makes push to be part of 49ers' future

Vance McDonald makes push to be part of 49ers' future

ORLANDO, Fla. – It has taken tight end Vance McDonald a while, but he has become a legitimate threat in the 49ers’ passing game.

McDonald, a second-round draft pick in 2013, recorded just 10 receptions in his first two seasons. He started to see more action last season after the 49ers dealt Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos at the trade deadline. He has started 20 games the past two seasons, including all nine games in which he has appeared this year.

“I just always look back at the opportunity when Vernon went to (Denver),” McDonald said. “Just being able to have the trust and the opportunity to start games and play every down.”

Through three seasons, McDonald had not produced and given few indications that he warranted a contract extension. But as a player who is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in the offseason, McDonald is making a convincing argument to become a priority for the 49ers to re-sign.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 22 receptions and second behind Jeremy Kerley with 382 receiving yards. McDonald has a team-leading four touchdown catches, including scoring plays of 75 and 65 yards.

“He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said. “So really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”

Even the 49ers’ designated deep threat, wide receiver Torrey Smith, has not been able to shake free for as many big gains as McDonald, who is listed at 267 pounds.

“Vance has done a great job,” Smith said. “I’m very happy for him, especially knowing how hard he’s been fighting over the years. He’s finally getting a chance to show what he can do. And he’s done a great job. He’s very fast. That’s what helps him out a lot. It’s not often you can get a tight end and take it to the house, running past everyone.”

McDonald said he believes Kelly’s system allows him a greater opportunity to be part of the team’s passing attack.

“It provides the tight end an opportunity to be a big playmaker,” McDonald said. “I’ve welcomed that idea and embraced that role this year. It’s been a lot of fun.

“As an offense, I like looking at a bigger picture, and we have to be more consistent. I can help with that and I’m trying my best.”