49ers

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

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AP

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

Keith Fahnhorst, who played 14 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and started on two Super Bowl-winning teams, died on Tuesday. He was 66.

Fahnhorst was among a large group of players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl championship team that gathered at Levi’s Stadium in October in a celebration of Dwight Clark. Fahnhorst and Clark were teammates for the 49ers’ Super Bowl-titlle teams of 1981 and 1984. Clark passed away on June 6 from ALS.

Fahnhorst, who was in a wheelchair during his trip to the Bay Area last season, battled many physical ailments since his career ended in 1987. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant in 2002. Fahnhorst was also later diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

A second-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1974 from the University of Minnesota, Fahnhorst was a mainstay at right tackle as the organization struggled in the mid-to-late 1970s, then found success in the 1980s under coach Bill Walsh.

“Everybody knew they could count on Keith,” Walsh said in the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have Gone?”

Fahnhorst appeared in 193 regular-season games, ranking behind only Len Rohde among offensive linemen in 49ers history. He started 170 games, including all 10 postseason games in which he appeared. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team and was selected as a first-team All-Pro after the 1984 season. He was a two-time winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award for best representing the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the longtime 49ers offensive line coach.

Keith Fahnhorst and his younger brother, Jim, were 49ers teammates for the final four years of Keith’s career. Jim Fahnhorst, a linebacker, played for the 49ers from 1984 to 1990. Neither Keith nor Jim Fahnhorst played for any NFL team other than the 49ers.

Why 49ers' John Lynch is confident in Jimmy Garoppolo's successful return

Why 49ers' John Lynch is confident in Jimmy Garoppolo's successful return

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — General manager John Lynch knows how important turning the corner in his third season as general manager of the 49ers is, and how much of that turnaround lies in the hands of his quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

“It’s important for us all,” Lynch said. “We’ve got high aspirations for this team and he’s obviously a big part of that. We’ve got a lot of belief that he’s going to answer the bell and we feel great about that position group in general.”

Garoppolo only had started 10 games over five seasons in the NFL before tearing his ACL in Week 3 against the Chiefs last year. Only eight of those starts were in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system. But Lynch has confidence that his quarterback has a chance to be successful because of his overall experience and the successful recovery of his left knee.

“I think what’s important, all the time, is you look at the totality of a camp and I think he’s had a really good camp, I really do,” Lynch said. “I think the best thing for all of us is that is, I get hesitant and reluctant to say it, but is his recovery from his knee has been flawless.”

Injuries have been a challenge for the 49ers over that past two seasons with 18 players ending up on injured reserve in 2018 and 21 players on the list the year prior. Running back Jerick McKinnon, who also suffered an ACL injury last season, had a minor set back during training camp. He should be ready for the early part of the season, but Lynch noted the 49ers have been very fortunate that Garoppolo has been issue free, thus far.

“I think we’re all learning the hard way that, par for the course, at some point, during a year-long rehab, you’re going to have some setbacks,” Lynch said. “He just hasn’t had those and that’s allowed him to focus on what he needs to do and that’s play.

“So that’s been tremendous and that’s been the biggest blessing and he deserves a lot of credit as does our medical staff for the way that’s gone. On the field we see progress each day and a better mastery of our system. We’re still seeing room for improvement but I think he’s been having a fine camp.”

Lynch also had a positive take on the health of defensive line additions Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. Ford has been out with tendonitis in his knee, while Bosa sprained his ankle. While Lynch would not confirm that they would be ready to play in Tampa in Week 1, he was not concerned about the time table for their return.

“As for Week 1, I don’t know, but I think we’re going to have them for the majority of the year and we just got to keep them out there,” Lynch said. “But those guys are obviously key parts of who we are and what we’re doing. It will be nice when we get them back.”

[RELATED: Broncos coach Fangio looks back fondly on four-year run with 49ers]

Other injury notes: C Weston Richburg (knee) is doing more football oriented things but has not been cleared, hopefully, he will be ready by Week 1 or early in the season. OL Mike Person (foot strain) is day-to-day. G Joshua Garnett (finger) will attempt to play with a cast that will he will have put on next week. CB Jason Verrett (ankle) is hopeful to be ready for Week 1. S Jimmie Ward (collar bone) has regular check-ups on how he is healing. They likely will have him participating in practice soon, but they will be careful with him.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio fondly looks back on four-year 49ers run

Broncos coach Vic Fangio fondly looks back on four-year 49ers run

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – During the 49ers’ run of three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl appearance, Jim Harbaugh’s teams were led by a talented and disciplined defense.

Four years after the 49ers passed over their defensive coordinator on those teams, Vic Fangio, for a promotion to head coach after Harbaugh’s departure, the Denver Broncos came calling.

Fangio, who is in his first summer as head coach of the Broncos, is leading his new team into two practices sessions against his former team before Denver and the 49ers square off in an exhibition game Monday night. He said he looks back with mostly fond memories on his time with the 49ers.

“We had great success there, so it’s always good to be part of good teams playing in meaningful games in the regular season and I think we had eight or nine playoff games while I was there,” Fangio told NBC Sports Bay Area following practice on Friday.

“They are all great experiences. I look back on that time as mostly with nothing but positive memories.”

The 49ers’ defense ranked in the top-five in the NFL in yards allowed with such All-Pro players on the unit as Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman from 2011 to 2014.

“We had great players, No. 1 – guys I really liked working with,” Fangio said. “I had good relationships with a lot of them. Still stay in touch with a lot of them. And they played good and hard together. They did what we asked them to do. For the most part, it resulted in good results. I look back on those guys with a lot of fondness.”

Despite being Harbaugh’s top assistant, Fangio was passed over for the 49ers’ head-coaching job in favor of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who proved to be overmatched with the responsibility.

Fangio said his experience with the 49ers and being interviewed for the head-coaching job in January 2015 all were part of the process in the steps he took to land his current job with the Broncos. He spent the past four seasons as Chicago Bears defensive coordinator and developed his unit there into one of the best in the league, too.

[RELATED: 49ers camp report: Defense continues practice-field dominance vs. Broncos]

Fangio, who will turn 61 next week, is a straight-shooter who clearly is doing it his way with the Broncos after all the experiences he has had from coaching professional football every season since 1984 -- with a one-year stop at Stanford to be on Harbaugh's staff in 2010.

“You pick and choose from everybody you work with,” he said. “I don’t take notes or anything like that. I just know what I’d do in the same situation and go with it.”