Why 49ers draft pick Dre Greenlaw's biggest fan is man he's never met


Why 49ers draft pick Dre Greenlaw's biggest fan is man he's never met

It’s a call no parent ever hopes to receive. It's the one that wakes them up in the wee hours, telling them one of their children is in the hospital.

It’s the call Gerry Daly and his wife received four years ago when their daughter was a freshman at the University of Arkansas.

“I’m an early to bed, early to rise-kind of person,” Daly said. “It’s the worst call you can get on a Friday night."

Daly’s daughter had been taken to the emergency room, incapacitated and under the influence of what was believed to be alcohol. Tests, however, showed she had been drinking at the party she had attended, but she wasn't drunk.

“She couldn’t walk, and when she tried to talk, it sounded like 'tsk .., tsk,' " Daly said. "She wasn’t in any danger, so we took her home to monitor her."

It took a few days for the Dalys to piece together what had happened to their daughter via text messages from her friends. All she could remember was talking with a guy at the party, and then waking up in the hospital with a few of her girlfriends around her. Eventually, the family came to the conclusion that the male had slipped something into her drink, causing her incapacitation.

Daly also discovered that the man tried to take his daughter from the party, but he was thwarted by a Razorbacks football player and his friend. If not for them, there's no telling what might happened.

That football player was Dre Greenlaw, whom the 49ers selected Saturday in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Greenlaw was familiar with Daly's daughter, as they attended the same high school. She was a cheerleader, and he was a member of the football team. Greenlaw was unfamiliar with the man who tried to leave the party with Daly's daughter, which likely motivated him to confront the man by saying, "She's not going anywhere," according to Daly.

Daly has wanted to thank Greenlaw, even reaching out through social media to no avail. Until the linebacker was drafted by the 49ers, Daly resisted publicly thanking Greenlaw for fear of what the repercussions might be for the young athlete.

"He was an underage athlete, attending a party where there was alcohol, even though he was not drinking," Daly said. "He was a college football player in the SEC."

That could be seen as a violation by Greenlaw, and Daly didn't want to risk that for a player who appeared to risk much for his daughter. If the confrontation at the party had escalated into a fight, Greenlaw could have been suspended or even kicked off the team.

[RELATED: How Lynch, Shanahan arrived at 49ers' picks in 2019 NFL Draft]

But Daly figured Greenlaw wasn't at risk if he publicly told the story now. So, he detailed what happened in a Twitter thread that received quite a bit of attention, including from Greenlaw, who retweeted two of Daly's posts. The 49ers themselves weren't aware of the story until Daly went public with it.

Daly just wanted Greenlaw to know how much he appreciated what he did for his daughter.

“Thank God someone was looking out for her,” Daly said. “Thank God that there are good people in this world like Dre. Please tell him thank you."

Daly is only conflicted about one thing regarding Greenlaw's future -- his new team.

"I was hoping he would become a Giant," Daly said with a chuckle. "That's my team, and they need a guy like him on and off the field.

"But I'd root for him wherever he landed. Now I’ll cheer for the 49ers."

Jed York compares 49ers' journey through muck to 'Shawshank Redemption'


Jed York compares 49ers' journey through muck to 'Shawshank Redemption'

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers CEO Jed York was in a good mood Friday afternoon. He was sarcastic, funny and a bit self-deprecating during a 20-minute surprise interview session with reporters on hand for the final 49ers access period before the team leaves to play Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

It’s easy to find a smile with the 49ers doing so well. They dominated the regular season, rolled through the NFC playoffs and are now set to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 for the NFL title.

Just because the sun is now shining, it doesn't mean York has forgotten recent days with rainclouds overhead.

“I try to think every day about banners flying over the stadium asking for me to step down from the team,” York said with tongue firmly planted in cheek. “That’s always my favorite experience. No, I’m just focused on what we have to do. ... I am happy for our fans. Being in the Super Bowl seven years ago doesn't feel that long, except for the deep valley we went into in between.”

The 49ers now have a chance to do something great. They can add a sixth Lombardi Trophy to their collection with one more win this season.

They can do so right after emerging from a dark era that included two disappointing seasons to start the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch regime. York expected that when he gave his head coach and general manager six-year contracts. Looking back, York is glad he decided to offer such long-term deals. He wanted stability after several seasons of turmoil.

“I think I’m still paying, like, three coaches,” York said with a smile. “I thought, 'If we’re going to pay them, we might as well pay the same one for six years. Seems like a good idea to me.' It was clear that [Shanahan and I] had the vision and sync. I know that it was a six-year deal but, to me, it was two years of fixing what we needed to fix and then this was Year One of a four-year deal. It was important knowing that Kyle is someone that I can work with and John is someone I can work with to get through the tough stuff.”

The tough stuff. 49ers fans know all about that after suffering through some terrible seasons after the Jim Harbaugh era ended. York evoked “Shawshank Redemption” when describing the journey through bad times to reach this good one. The description was both apt and dead-on accurate.

“I made an Andy Dufresne reference earlier. Everybody wants to get to the beach at the end [of "Shawshank Redemption"], but no one wants to go through what he went through to get to the beach,” York said. “We had to get through that. Kyle and John were guys I knew could help us get through that. I wanted to send a message to our fans and our team that these guys are here. Not that we knew we weren’t going to win games, but it was unlikely that we were going to win from Day One and win the Super Bowl right away.

“I didn’t want people to wonder in Year Three if they were on the hot seat. No. It’s a six-year deal. We’ve walked into this thing together and we’re going to build this thing the right way. We didn’t make every right trade or draft pick. We didn’t sign the right free agents all the time, but it’s the culmination of everything we do. We want to build the right team. You have to have a long-term vision and, when you can make those long-term decisions the right way without worrying and trying to shortcut it, then you give yourself a chance.”

[RELATED: York hopes 49ers in position to receive White House invite]

York kept working through mistakes in both personnel and executive/coaching decisions, but didn’t lose sight of his goals trying to dig the 49ers out of a hole. He used more movies to describe how he was mentally able to get through it without shaken confidence.

“My philosophies are pretty simple. "The Godfather," "Bull Durham" and "Major League" make up my philosophy on life. And maybe Shawshank a little bit. But it goes back to Crash Davis talking to Nuke LaLoosh. You’re going to get lit up when you’re in the pros. You have to remain cocky. You have to remain confident. You can’t let them get you down. It’s hard to not let outside noise affect you, but you have to block it out. I think our team has done a great job blocking out the noise and I hope I’ve done the small [things] to help them focus on the task at hand.”

Richard Sherman believes chemistry will help 49ers in Super Bowl LIV

Richard Sherman believes chemistry will help 49ers in Super Bowl LIV

SANTA CLARA — All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman has taken part in 14 playoff games and two Super Bowls, but he believes that those experiences are overrated as an asset, whereas team chemistry is not. 

Many 49ers players have been influenced by Sherman’s leadership and character. Watching him interact in the locker room is akin to mayor working the room but without the negative connotations. He talks to everyone, offense, defense and special teams alike. 

While Sherman’s play on the field speaks for itself, coach Kyle Shanahan believes that what he represents in the locker that might be just as important. 

“I think he's meant a ton,” Shanahan said. “You can probably ask each guy and probably get a different answer. He's helped us the most by how he's played, but also having a guy that's been there and done that, especially having a young team.

“When you have a guy who guys have grown up watching a little bit, and being in big games like this and even starting out the year 8-0, going through that, and having guys who have kind of been at the top of the league halfway through, echo how tough it's going to be to keep that going. 

“Any time you have guys with experience who have been through it who are also one of your better players, it helps a ton.”

Someone who appreciates Sherman’s open door attitude is fellow All-Pro George Kittle.  

“Sherm's the best. He's such a leader," Kittle said. "He talks to every single person in the locker room. He's not one of those guys that sits in his locker space and just talks to guys around him. He's always around. 

“He wants to talk to everybody and he doesn't really force knowledge on you. He's definitely an open book. If you have questions for him, he'll sit and talk football with you all day. That's one thing that's incredible about him.” 

[RELATED: Jimmy G, Sherman using criticism as fuel]

The elements that Sherman believes are evident in most championship teams are what he sees in the 49ers' locker room. While it’s likely unintentional, his influence on the team's chemistry is part of what makes it so special. 

“Great players, great execution, great coaching and poise,” Sherman said. “There’s a sense of brotherhood for sure in the building. There's a trust in one another. There's a bit of adversity, you know, overcoming adversity throughout the season, and we've had all those ingredients. Then it's just guys that play hard for one another. They won't take no for an answer.”