49ers

Former 49ers Sanders and Dent voted into HOF

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Former 49ers Sanders and Dent voted into HOF

Feb. 5, 2011
NFL PAGE

DALLAS (AP) Deion Sanders always was Prime Time. Now he's All Time.Sanders and Marshall Faulk led a class of seven voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Joining them were Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Ed Sabol, Les Richter and Chris Hanburger.As talkative as he was talented, known as much for his celebration dances as his interceptions and kick returns, Sanders was an outstanding cornerback and sometime wide receiver with five teams. He's a two-time Super Bowl winner and was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1994.Sanders reacted to his election with typical Neon Deion bravado. He said he's grateful, but then made sure to explain, "what you feel about me has nothing to do with how I feel about me."Then he broke into the open field."Next to the Bible, my favorite book was The Little Engine That Could.' I read that story so many times, I know it by heart," he said. "And a couple trains passed that engine until he started saying to himself: 'I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.' And that's what I modeled my career after. I mean, it sounds arrogant, it sounds brash, it sounds cocky. But it was real."Sanders also played major league baseball. But football clearly was his calling."He was an electrifying performer who put fans on the edge of their seats every time he manned his cornerback position or dropped back to receive a kickoff or field a punt," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. "Deion is, without question, one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL."Sanders got in a comical dig at Faulk and Sharpe."Man, this is real," he said, "and I got to see Marshall Faulk and Shannon Sharpe cry."Faulk won a Super Bowl with the 1999 Rams, was the 1994 Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2000 NFL MVP and a three-time Offensive Player of the Year (1999-2001). Faulk is the 10th leading career rusher with 12,279 yards, and for a half-dozen seasons was the most versatile back in football, as much a threat as a receiver as a runner."I wanted the ball in my hands so I could so something with it," Faulk said, recalling how he briefly played quarterback in high school and didn't find it exciting enough.Faulk got teary-eyed when asked how his mother reacted to his election.Sharpe starred for Denver and Baltimore for 14 seasons and won three Super Bowls in a four-year span, two with Denver, one with Baltimore. He held league records for a tight end in receptions, yards and touchdowns when he retired in 2001."If I had a thousand tongues, I couldn't say how happy and proud I am," Sharpe said. "I don't know what I did to deserve this.John Elway knew."This caps off a tremendous football career by a guy who truly was self-made and worked his tail off to become one of the best players in the history of the NFL," said Elway, who was Sharpe's quarterback in Denver.Sharpe always knew football was going to be his profession."If you are going to have letters behind your name, I wasn't going to have M.D. or PhD. HOF is pretty good," he said.Bears defensive end Dent was the MVP of the 1986 Super Bowl and finished with 137 12 career sacks. He was the top pass rusher on one of the NFL's greatest defensive units. Dent became a starter in 1984, beginning a 10-year period in which he made 10 or more sacks in eight of 10 seasons."It was a long time coming, I am very happy," Dent said. "If you can do your thing the way (Walter Payton) did his, you can be in the Hall of Fame. I am so thankful for this."Dent also won a Super Bowl in 1994 with the 49ers.Richter played linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams from 1954-62. They traded 11 players for him and waited two years while he was in the military before he suited up. He made the wait worthwhile , going to eight straight Pro Bowls. He also was a center and kicker.Richter died last June."Les was a tough, hard-nosed football player who gave it his all on every play and in every practice," Hall of Famer Deacon Jones recalled of Richter. "He knocked the hell out of people. I mean, he'd really hit you. Les Richter was a great teammate."Hanburger spent all 14 pro seasons with the Redskins and played in nine Pro Bowls. He played from 1965-78 and was called "The Hangman." He was known for using clothesline tackles that eventually were outlawed."It's wonderful. I am just overwhelmed. It's such a tremendous honor to be nominated, let alone get in," Hanburger said. "Have to think of all the men who played before me and all the men I played with."Sabol founded NFL Films and was selected as a contributor. Under his guidance, NFL Films received 52 Emmy Awards.The finalists who did not get in were Curtis Martin, Dermontti Dawson, Cortez Kennedy, Andre Reed and Willie Roaf.Induction ceremonies are Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

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AP

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.