49ers recognize passing of former players Conner, Smith


49ers recognize passing of former players Conner, Smith

The 49ers lost two former players in December, and recognized the passing of Clyde Conner and Charlie Smith in the following press release:

Wide receiver Conner passed away on Dec. 12th at his Los Altos home. Former San Francisco 49ers end Smith passed away on December 26 in San Angelo, TX. Conner and Smith were both 78 years old.

A native of Tuttle, OK, Conner attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where he played basketball. It was not until his senior year that he was asked to play on the football team. After trying out for the 49ers at training camp, the 6-2, 193-lb receiver had a successful eight-year career in San Francisco from 1956-1963, including 2nd team All-Pro honors in 1957. In 1958, he ranked fifth in the NFL in receptions with 49, while also leading the team with 512 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Conner ended his career with 203 catches for 2,643 yards, averaging 13.0 yards per catch. He was inducted to the University of the Pacific Hall of Fame in 1985.

After football, Conner worked in corporate vehicle leasing. There will be a memorial held in Conners honor on January 16th at the Los Altos Methodist Church.

A Texas native, Smith attended Abilene Christian University on a football and track scholarship. He was then drafted by the 49ers in the 8th round of the 1956 NFL Draft. Smith remained in San Francisco until 1957 when he was forced to retire from the NFL because of injuries. During his tenure, Smith played in 12 games as both a receiver and a returner.

After his football career, Smith returned to Texas where he enjoyed a 36-year career in education. He was a teacher, coach, and administrator in the Texas school system. Earlier this year, Smith visited the 49ers Santa Clara Headquarters and was able to revisit the team he played with decades before.
San Francisco 49ers media services contributed to this report

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017


What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Bay Area sports teams and your favorite players have plenty to be thankful for this year. 

Check out how the teams and players are celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season


Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

SANTA CLARA – The two quarterbacks who finish this season with the 49ers are probably going to be the same two quarterbacks the organization carry on their 2018 roster.

So every decision coach Kyle Shanahan makes with C.J. Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo is being made to consider what is best for those two players.

Shanahan made the expected announcement this week that Beathard will make his fifth consecutive start on Sunday when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

Beathard is coming off his best game as a pro. He was a major contributor to the 49ers’ first victory of the season, throwing for 288 yards, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for a score in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. His performance seemingly did enough to earn him another start.

Meanwhile, Garoppolo pulled up to 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 with no prior knowledge of Shanahan’s offensive system. Even as a rookie, Beathard has five more months of experience in the 49ers’ offense than Garoppolo, a four-year professional who made just two starts during his time with the New England Patriots.

“We’ve had C.J. in there for some time,” Shanahan said. “He’s getting more used to it, and I’m getting more used to him. The players are getting more used to him around him. It’s been nice to add a few things each week for him.”

General manager John Lynch reiterated this week he considers Garoppolo the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. Garoppolo is not under contract for next season. If the 49ers are unable to work out a multi-year extension, the club would be expected to designate him as their franchise player to retain him for the 2018 season.

Garoppolo is likely to get some playing time in the final six games of the season, but the 49ers have every reason to take their time in order to give him the best chance at success. On the first three days of the bye week, Garoppolo had a chance to go back to the beginning and learn the basics of the scheme in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and Shanahan.

Shanahan’s scheme is complex with unique verbiage and an abundance of adjustments that are required on any given play. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan took a step backward in his first season in Shanahan's scheme. The next year, Ryan was a runaway MVP winner with a career-high 38 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions.

It took Ryan a full season of experience with Shanahan to fully grasp his responsibilities, so it is unreasonable to believe Garoppolo would be able to do much more than just function if he gets onto the field for extended action.

“Jimmy gets more and more ready each week,” Shanahan said. “Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to be better each week.

“I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year because that’s what guys need. But C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier.”