INDIANAPOLIS -- Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller attended the NFL scouting combine over the weekend but was not healthy enough to showcase his skills for the attending coaches and scouts."Unfortunately, I got a stress fracture in my foot from the Senior Bowl so I'm not going to be participating in anything until March 25th at my pro day," Fuller said.It's a disappointment, to be sure. But Fuller has every reason to maintain a positive outlook.All he has to do is look to his father, former 49ers safety Jeff Fuller, for inspiration and perspective.Jeff Fuller, 49, was a hard-hitting member of the 49ers' secondary whose career ended in 1989 when his violent hit on New England Patriots fullback John Stephens ripped the nerves at C-5, C-6 and C-7 from his spinal cord."Everything pretty much came back in a day or two, except for my right arm," Fuller said five years ago in an interview for "San Francisco 49ers: Where Have you Gone?""For a while, you'll think you're getting ready to turn the corner and it'll be better, but I've adjusted. It's been quite a while and you learn to adapt."More than two decades later, Fuller still has paralysis in his right arm and elbow, and the movements in his wrist and hand are restricted."I can run; I can do just about everything," Fuller said. "I don't play basketball or golf, but I'm able to do almost everything without being held back."Fuller also realized he was fortunate because of the circumstances surrounding his devastating injury. The 49ers played that game at Stanford Stadium because the Loma Prieta earthquake five days earlier had damaged Candlestick Park."That was the best thing for me because the (medical) facility was right there on campus," Fuller said. "If I had been somewhere like Candlestick, it would've been a lot more difficult."In comparison to what his father experienced, even before the injury, his son realizes how easy he's had it."We kind of came up differently," he said. "He (dad) was brought up in a not-so great part of Dallas and I was brought up in the suburbs of Dallas. He's been through a lot on the field, and so have I. Tough injuries. He went to A&M. I went to A&M. He got drafted in the (fifth) round. That's probably similar to where they're drafting me."He just told me that nothing ever comes easy. I'm just looking forward to getting out there and competing and being on a team."In retrospect, Fuller's NFL stock might have been higher a year ago when he was coming off a season in which he caught 72 passes for 1,066 yards and 12 touchdowns.As a senior, Fuller still managed 70 catches but his average-per-reception fell 3 yards. He battled an early season hamstring injury and some dropped passes throughout the year."You can't think 'shoulda, woulda, coulda.' I definitely don't think like that anymore," Fuller said.And neither does his father. He played in two Super Bowl victories with the 49ers and earned another ring when the 49ers won the championship less than three months after his career-ending injury."When I look back, it was a great career," Fuller said. "And what made it such a special part of my life was having so many great friends."We don't have any pictures of the 49ers on the wall (at home) or anything like that. It's mainly because that's part of my life in is the past. We don't watch any tapes related to it. It happened, and I'm moving forward."
A&M receiver Fuller learns perspective from father
February 27, 2012, 5:14 pm