Jed York touts his uncle as Hall worthy

Jed York touts his uncle as Hall worthy
February 3, 2012, 9:51 pm
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On a conference call Thursday in which he answered questions about the NFL's approval of a 200 million loan for the 49ers' Santa Clara stadium effort, team president Jed York concluded with some words about his uncle.Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., who oversaw the 49ers as owner from 1977 to 1997, is one of 17 finalists under consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Four to seven individuals will be announced for election on Saturday at 2:30 p.m."My uncle is a finalist for the Hall of Fame, and that voting will be on Saturday," York said. "I'm very hopeful that he is given an opportunity to be in the Hall of Fame. He's been one of the greatest owners in the history of professional sports. And he's been a great inspiration to me and many other people that are involved in sports teams. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him."The 49ers won five Super Bowls under DeBartolo's guidance. DeBartolo would be an easy choice for the Hall of Fame if it weren't for the way his tenure came to an end. He resigned as the controlling owner in December 1997 when he became a target of gambling fraud charges in Louisiana.Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue suspended DeBartolo for the 1999 season and fined him 1 million after DeBartolo pleaded guilty to the felony charge of failing to report an extortion attempt by then-Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.DeBartolo's sister, Denise, and her husband, John York, took over the 49ers. After the sides launched dueling lawsuits, a settlement was reached in 2000 in which DeBartolo surrendered his stake in the 49ers in exchange for the family's real estate holdings.DeBartolo, who lives in Tampa, Fla., has remained in the background for the past decade. In recent years, he has eagerly served as a sounding board to Jed York, with whom he speaks regularly. DeBartolo accepted his nephew's invitation to appear at Candlestick Park as honorary captain for the 49ers' Championship Game two weeks ago against the New York Giants.The new Hall of Fame class will be chosen from the following list of finalists: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Jack Butler, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, DeBartolo, Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Willie Roaf, Will Shields, Dick Stanfel and Aeneas Williams.