49ers

Anthony Zettel leaves 49ers, signs with Vikings in NFL free agency

Anthony Zettel leaves 49ers, signs with Vikings in NFL free agency

Defensive lineman Anthony Zettel, a late-season pickup for the 49ers, agreed to terms Wednesday with the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced.

The 49ers signed Zettel on Dec. 23 after experiencing depth issues on the team’s defensive line. San Francisco released Jeremiah Valoaga, who played in four games for the 49ers, to make room for Zettel.

Zettel saw action in the 49ers’ final regular-season game, then played a backup role in each of the team’s three postseason games. Zettel played 15 snaps on defense and 13 plays on special teams in the 49ers’ 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers signed Zettel as a free agent on Dec. 23, a week after the Cincinnati Bengals released him. Zettel played for 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek when they were both with the Detroit Lions.

The 49ers also lost backup nose tackle Sheldon Day on Wednesday, as he signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

[RELATEDReport: 49ers went after Suh, who's going to Bucs instead]

The 49ers announced the official signing of defensive lineman Kerry Hyder on Wednesday. Hyder played with the Dallas Cowboys last season. His best season came in 2016 when he registered eight sacks with the Lions with Kocurek as his position coach.

Why these four moments belong on Bay Area sports' Mount Rushmore

Why these four moments belong on Bay Area sports' Mount Rushmore

Let's get this over with right away: Read the rules, understand the fine print. 

On Friday, 95.7 The Game came up with their four greatest Bay Area sports moments. Here's what they came up with. 

This got us thinking, if we were to make a Mount Rushmore of the greatest moments in Bay Area sports history, would these be the four? First, back to the rules and fine print.

This is about the greatest moments, not the greatest teams, so just saying a championship or run of championships doesn't count. We also are talking about plays and/or moments that happened during games on the field or court. 

If we were talking more about the grander scheme of things in a broader sense, the 1989 World Series obviously would be added for the Loma Prieta earthquake. On the field, though, the A's swept the Giants and the games mostly are forgettable. Colin Kaepernick first kneeling during the national anthem in a 2016 preseason game certainly would deserve a spot as well. Take a look around at the world right now, and you'll know why.

So, as far as greatest sports moments go, the 95.7 The Game crew almost nailed it. They were right on three out of four, dropping the ball just once. Which brings us to how it should have gone. 

The Catch 

This list can't start any other way. From the play to the situation to the iconic photo and the nickname, "The Catch" has it all.

With 58 seconds left against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, Clark stretched out his arms to snag Joe Montana's pass in the end zone, tying the game at 27 points apiece before an extra-point gave the 49ers the lead and the eventual win. San Francisco went on to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, in Super Bowl XVI to win their first of five championships.

"The Catch" not only is one of the most iconic plays in 49ers and Bay Area history, it also is one of the most memorable moments in NFL and sports history as a whole. 


The Play

Just like "The Catch," this is a moment that lives on in sports history. Close your eyes and you can see it happening. Actually, you can hear it happening as well. 

"The band is out on the field!" It's an iconic call in a wild scene that will be played until the end of time.

Cal came into the game 6-4 and Stanford was just 5-5. The stakes obviously weren't high, but in a rivalry game, records go out the window. This moment had to make the list. 

Madison Bumgarner, Game 7

This one wasn't easy. There were multiple times where I came close to making a change. What about Travis Ishikawa's walk-off home run in the 2014 NLCS? Or Edgar Renteria's go-ahead homer in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series? Or even just the final out out the 2010 World Series? 

During the Giants' dynasty of winning three titles in five years, from 2010 to 2014, there were plenty of iconic moments. None are like Bumgarner coming out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.

Bumgarner had just thrown a 119-pitch shutout in Game 5. That didn't matter to him, he wanted the ball. So in Game 7, he threw 68 pitches over five shutout innings out of the bullpen to hold off the Royals. MadBum was a rockstar.

The iconic performance lowered his World Series ERA to 1.03 that year, and he was named MVP of the Fall Classic.

Game 6 Klay

Finally, we disagree. Let's let Steve Kerr explain. 

When the Warriors coach was asked Friday by 95.7 The Game what Steph Curry's defining moment is, he answered with three words: "All of them." 

Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals certainly is one of them. Curry scored 12 of the Warriors' final 13 points to give Golden State a three-games-to-two lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers. His 37 points put the Warriors within one win of their first title in 40 years.

That performance was one among a long list that Curry has given Warriors fans. The same goes for his "Bang! Bang!" game-winner in 2016 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and others -- including Baron Davis' dunk over Andrei Kirilenko in the 2007 Western Conference semifinals -- have given Dub Nation unforgettable moments. In this case, we're listening to Kerr once again.

"I've watched that game several times since, and it's almost impossible to fathom what Klay did and what he was able to do individually in that game to pull the game for us," Kerr said on 95.7 The Game while arguing Thompson's performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference finals. "It was just an amazing performance."

With the Warriors on the verge of elimination after a record-breaking 73-win season, Thompson set a single-game NBA playoff record 11 3-pointers in Golden State's 108-101 win. He finished with 41 points and had every Warriors fan glued to their TVs as he quieted Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

"Game 6 Klay" was born and never will be forgotten.

Snubs

The list is too long. Yell at me on Twitter. @DaltonJ_Johnson

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk's epic JUCO performance showed playmaking ability

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk's epic JUCO performance showed playmaking ability

The 49ers have high expectations for Brandon Aiyuk. They expect the 6-foot receiver with an 81-inch wingspan to stretch the field vertically, make people miss and change the tone of the game with one play.

Aiyuk showed off his game-breaking ability during his time at Arizona State, but the skills that made the 49ers gravitate toward him in the 2020 NFL Draft first took center stage at Sierra College in Rocklin, California. Aiyuk arrived at the school as a defensive back, but coach Ben Noonan realized Aiyuk was lethal with the ball in his hands.

Aiyuk finally broke through late in his freshman year. He played both sides of the ball during the last game that season, catching six balls for 121 yards and two touchdowns while holding his man to one catch for 20 yards, Noonan told ESPN's Nick Wagoner.

That summer, Noonan says Aiyuk dedicated himself to football, spending most of his time either in the weight room or working with the quarterbacks.

"It gets up to a good 110 degrees, and then he's out there until the daylight is gone with the quarterbacks after a four-hour day," Noonan told Wagoner. "And demanding that the quarterbacks stay, you know, whether their arm was falling off or not. And then the other thing that gives you perspective on his personality and work-ethic type of kid he was: He insisted on being on special teams."

Then, in his sophomore season, Aiyuk flashed more of his game-changing skills while on special teams. During a game against Santa Rosa College, Aiyuk returned a kick 76 yards for a touchdown, had six catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns and had 110 punt return yards with two touchdowns called back due to penalties.

"It was the most dominant junior college game I'd ever seen by anybody," Noonan told Wagoner.

With Emmanuel Sanders now in New Orleans with the Saints, the 49ers will expect Aiyuk to slot in immediately and fill that void, forming a fearsome three-headed monster with tight end George Kittle and Deebo Samuel.

The 49ers had Aiyuk atop their draft board along with Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb, and even debated taking Aiyuk at No. 13 overall. Instead, they waited, believing a sub-par 40 time caused by a core muscle injury might force the ASU star to slide. It did, and the 49ers traded up from No. 31 to No. 25, leapfrogging the Green Bay Packers, to get the guy head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted.

[RELATED: Kittle's potential extension could lead 49ers to trade Ford]

Aiyuk, Kittle and Samuel will give Shanahan three receivers who excel at making defenders miss, turning short gains into game-altering plays. Aiyuk could struggle to see target early in the season, but the 49ers plan for him to play big role in their 2020 Revenge Tour back to the Super Bowl.

Aiyuk has the ability to change the momentum of the game in a matter of seconds. It's been apparent since his days at Sierra College. That's why Herm Edwards brought him to Arizona State, and that's why Shanahan and general manager John Lynch made him a 49er.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]