Ex-49ers star Terrell Owens always welcomed at Pro Football Hall of Fame

Ex-49ers star Terrell Owens always welcomed at Pro Football Hall of Fame

CANTON, Ohio – The Pro Football Hall of Fame will always have its doors open to Terrell Owens, who did not take part in the annual induction ceremony last summer.

David Baker, the president of the Hall of Fame, said on The 49ers Insider Podcast that he only wishes Owens had an opportunity to experience the grandeur and the appreciation with which inductees are showered when their bronze bust is unveiled. Owens participated in his own ceremony in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he played college football at UT-Chattanooga.

“It was a hard call to receive when he said he didn’t want to come,” Baker said. “He’s a complex guy and it’s not for me to judge what’s inside of him.”

Baker said he was not disappointed by Owens’ decision.

“I was really disappointed for him,” he said.

Baker added, “He is always welcomed here. Whether he comes or not, he is always welcomed here. His bronze bust is here, and we will guard his legacy here. If he would’ve come, the irony is he would’ve gotten the adulation and the love that he thought was being denied by not being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

Owens, who ranks No. 3 all-time with 15,934 receiving yards, was unhappy he was not among the five-person modern-era induction classes in his first two years of Hall of Fame eligibility. Baker pointed out that Green Bay Packers guard Jerry Kramer, who was named to the NFL’s all-50th anniversary team in 1969, waited 45 years to go into the Hall of Fame in that same class of 2018.

Owens, who played his first eight NFL seasons with the 49ers, is part of a new team of 326 players, coaches and contributors elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as the NFL begins its 100th season. Baker presented Owens with his Hall of Fame ring in a ceremony at Levi's Stadium last season.

Owens will be inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame  in Week 3 after the club returns home to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. Owens remains a part of the 49ers family. Last year, he attended Dwight Clark's memorial service and the dedication of the statues outside Levi's Stadium that commemorates The Catch.

Baker reflected on how he believes the 49ers fit into the fabric of pro football -- and into the larger picture of what he wants to shine through at the Hall of Fame. He credits former owner Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. and former team president Carmen Policy for instilling the values of family within the organization.

“When I think of the 49ers, I think of family. A lot of teams talk about family, but this is a family,” Baker said. “And a lot of that goes to Eddie DeBartolo. He treated it as a family, and to this day, he takes care of players that played for him. That is an enormous statement of how people then want to turn around and play for you.

“What happened to Dwight Clark, they getting together, they’re laughing, they’re getting together one more time. They’re family.”

As Clark battled ALS, many of his former 49ers teammates and many staff members, reunited with him. Nearly every member of the 49ers’ first Super Bowl team attended Dwight Clark Day at Levi’s Stadium during the 2017 season. Clark passed away on June 4, 2018.

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“We lost Dwight way too young,” Baker said. “All of us hated to see him go. But it was also a wonderful lesson of a life well=lived. This guy loved, laughed, lived well. And everybody who knows him knows that tinkle in his eye and how he got such a kick out of other people laughing, too.

“And I think the game itself, the competition, the fight, the battle for excellence, there are so many things we can learn. The game itself is bigger than football. It teaches us how to be a part of a family.”

Kwon Alexander impressed with what he saw from Dre Greenlaw, stepping into his role


Kwon Alexander impressed with what he saw from Dre Greenlaw, stepping into his role

SANTA CLARA – In the locker room following the 49ers’ first loss of the season, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman preached to his teammates about using the 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks as a learning experience.

“Like Sherm said, it’s just what we needed,” 49ers rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

The 49ers entered Monday night as the only unbeaten team in the NFL. They come out of the game with an 8-1 record, and a half-game lead over the Seahawks (8-2) in the NFC West.

“In this league, you’re never going undefeated. But at the same time, it’s a wake-up call," Greenlaw said. "It lets you know you can be beat any night. You got to bring your 'A game' every time. I think from here on out, a lot of guys are going to bring forward their best foot and play and execute and finish out the season strong.”

Greenlaw started Monday’s game in place of Kwon Alexander, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery last week to repair a torn pectoral. Greenlaw recorded eight tackles and had an interception of a Russell Wilson pass in overtime.

The play, along with Greenlaw’s 47-yard interception return, put the 49ers’ offense in position to win the game. But the offense stalled after gaining a first down, and rookie fill-in kicker Chase McLaughlin shanked a 47-yard field goal attempt after making a kick of the same distance to force overtime on the final play of regulation.

“I knew Greenlaw was going to step in,” Alexander said. “I had no doubt about him. I saw it on his face when he first walked through the door.

“He’s been a tremendous rookie, doing everything right, working hard. He put a lot of extra film in this week and it all paid off. He got an interception. I’m proud of him. I’m happy for him. He’s a great young man.”

Greenlaw said he played with a lot of confidence because of the support he received on the field from middle linebacker Fred Warner, along with the encouragement Alexander gave him on the sideline.

“I made some mistakes, but I made some plays,” Greenlaw said. “I felt confident. I knew Fred was going to play his heart out, and he had my back. Having Kwon out there on the sideline, he brought us confidence. I felt good running around.”

Warner said Greenlaw stepped in and did as well as could be expected in taking over for Alexander.

“He honestly stepped in and did a great job,” Warner said of Greenlaw, a fifth-round pick from Arkansas. “I can’t say anything bad. Kwon is a seasoned vet, but Dre came out and played as such. He was communicating great. He got aligned.”

Warner had an exceptional game, as he recorded 10 tackles, including his first two NFL sacks. He forced a fumble that DeForest Buckner returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

What can the 49ers take from this loss?

“Just learn from our mistakes, look at yourself in the mirror and see what you could’ve done and keep moving,” Warner said.

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

SANTA CLARA -- After the 49ers' heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was confident the offense didn't need a major overhaul to bounce back in Week 11.

Monday's loss at Levi's Stadium was Garoppolo's second-worst game of the season statistically. He completed just 24 of his 46 attempts for 248 yards, throwing one touchdown, one interception and posting a 66.2 passer rating. 

“I think I could throw the ball better, we could catch it better,” Garoppolo said Monday. “It’s a little bit of everything it’s not one specific thing that sticks out. It’s a bit of a reality check for us. We’ll go back and respond this week.”  

Players will never make injuries an excuse but Garoppolo lacked his top options Monday night. George Kittle, his No. 1 target, was inactive. Emmanuel Sanders, who had quickly become Garoppolo's second favorite pass-catcher, left the game in the first half with a rib injury.  

Coach Kyle Shanahan needed to make personnel adjustments during the game and had mixed results. While Deebo Samuel finished the night as the top receiver, catching eight of his 11 targets for 112 yards, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis each failed to record a catch on three targets. 

“The receivers were battling,” Garoppolo said. “We had some injuries happen and people were being mixed and matched in different spots. But I thought overall those guys played well. We’ve just got to make plays when your number’s called.”

Shanahan credited the offense and his QB for making some good plays, but he said they were largely inconsistent. The 49ers trailed by 11 points headed into the fourth quarter, but Shanahan liked that his QB was not rattled facing his largest deficit of the season. 

“Jimmy doesn’t really change,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy is always the same, so there’s no difference there. I think like the whole offense, I thought he battled. I thought he battled very hard. Hung in the pocket for a while. I thought he made some big plays, but I know he made a number of plays he’d like to have back.”

Garoppolo already is looking forward to the week ahead to reduce the offense's mistakes going forward. The 49ers have a short turnaround, playing the Arizona Cardinals for the second time in three weeks Sunday. 

“It’s just about execution at the end of the day,” Garoppolo said. “It’s nothing crazy, just got to go do your job, execute and move on play after play and just do that throughout the entire game. We’ve been good at that, it just, we had a couple hiccups tonight. Just got to correct them and move on.”

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One thing that Garoppolo has no doubt about is that the 49ers will bounce back from their first loss of the season seamlessly. Most of the locker room has lived through two losing seasons under Shanahan, and the QB is confident his teammates will quickly shake off their disappointment.

“You go back and you watch the tape,” Garoppolo said. “You got to be critical on yourself. ‘What could we have done better? What caused this to happen?’ You’ve got to be hard on yourselves. I think we have a good group of guys in there with the right mindset who are going to come into work tomorrow and fight."