Former 49ers offensive lineman Len Rohde dies at 79


Former 49ers offensive lineman Len Rohde dies at 79

Len Rohde, who played 15 seasons with the 49ers as an offensive lineman and remained in the Bay Area after his retirement following the 1974 season, died on Saturday, May 13. He was 79.

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York made the following statement on social media:

“My condolences go out to the Rohde family. Len was everything the 49ers stand for on and off the field. He will be missed.”

No player in 49ers history played more consecutive games than Rohde, who suited up for 208 games in a row from 1960 to ’74. Rohde shares the franchise record with former 49ers long-snapper Brian Jennings.

Rohde, who played college football at Utah State, was a fifth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1960. In his first three seasons he backed up and split time with right tackle Bob St. Clair, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Rohde moved to left tackle in 1964, where he remained until his retirement. Rohde was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1970 after a season in which the 49ers set a then-NFL record for fewest sacks allowed (eight) in a season and won the NFC West title Rohde protected the blind side of quarterback John Brodie, who was named NFL Most Valuable Player.

Rohde won the Len Eshmont Award in 1974 as the team’s most courageous and inspirational player.

In the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have You Gone?” Rohde spoke about his career.

“As an offensive tackle, there aren’t too many individual stats you can hang your hat on,” Rohde said. “But I guess playing in 208 games, winning the Len Eshmont, the NFC West, going to the Pro Bowl and the sack record aren’t bad.”

Rohde, a native of Palatine, Illinois, opened his first of six Burger King franchises in the Bay Area in 1976. He also was a majority owner of five Applebee’s restaurants.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone to college without football,” Rohde said. “I owe an awful lot to the game, and I was around people who had a great influence on me. I feel pretty grateful for the opportunities, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.