SANTA CLARA – Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard gave his head coach a jolt Sunday with an appearance on the 49ers’ practice field after taking an early morning flight from Cleveland to Atlanta to the Bay Area.
“He surprised the heck out of me,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I was in the middle of calling a play, and he was just staring at me. It shocked me. I didn’t think he’d be here until after practice.”
Beathard spent Saturday evening in Canton, Ohio, to witness the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. His grandfather, long-time NFL executive Bobby Beathard, was elected as part of the eight-member class of 2018.
“It meant a lot,” C.J. Beathard said after practice. “It was one of those one-of-a-kind situations, something I’m definitely glad I was able to go to, and be there in support of my grandpa. Not only that, but to be around a bunch of legends and listen to them speak.”
Beathard previously told NBC Sports Bay Area he would love to be in Canton but he would not ask for permission. He didn’t have to ask. Shanahan and general manager John Lynch not only gave Beathard permission to attend the ceremony, but they ordered him to go.
Now that he is in the NFL as a second-year player, Beathard might have a deeper understanding of the significance of his grandfather’s enshrinement.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NFL for as long as I can remember, and a goal of mine is to hopefully be there some day, as well,” he said. “Him being there (in the Hall of Fame) and being such a big role model in my life. It means a lot to everyone else in my family, too, but it means a lot to me.”
Beathard left Santa Clara on Friday night after the team’s walk-through practice to board a 10:45 p.m. flight to Cleveland. His plane landed at 6 a.m. He attended his grandfather’s party at noon on Saturday, and was in the crowd for the entire ceremony. His flight left Cleveland at 6 a.m. on Sunday.
“He texted me that his flight was at 3 a.m., West Coast time,” 49ers teammate George Kittle said. “I was like, ‘Oh, geez, have fun with that, man.
“Family is everything for him. It’s awesome to be around a guy like that. All he ever wants to do is be around his whole family, so the fact that coach Shanahan and Mr. Lynch gave him a chance to go back and do that, I know it meant the world to him.”
Bobby Beathard’s career as an NFL talent evaluator and general manager spanned more than three decades. His teams made it to the Super Bowl seven times, winning four championships. He is currently battling Alzheimer’s Disease. He appeared on stage with his presenter, Joe Gibbs, and unveiled his bronze bust. His remarks at the induction ceremony were videotaped.