Terrell Owens, who is second only to former 49ers teammate Jerry Rice in career receiving yards, finally gets to join Rice in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Owens and receiver Randy Moss, who spent one season with San Francisco, were two of the players with 49ers connections voted in on Saturday. They will join linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, safety Brian Dawkins as well as Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazil and Bobby Beathard as part of this year’s enshrinement class.
Beathard, a former general manager with the Redskins and Chargers, is the grandfather of 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch, who played safety for the Buccaneers and Broncos, did not make the cut. The voters likely felt limited to one former safety and tabbed Dawkins, who played 13 seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles, instead. The Eagles and New England Patriots play on Sunday in Super Bowl LII.
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“Congrats to a great and deserving Class,” Lynch wrote on Twitter. “Disappointed but humbled to be a finalist. Thanks to everyone for the support.”
Owens was a third-round draft pick to the 49ers out of Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1996 and he spent eight of his 15 NFL seasons with San Francisco. He felt snubbed when he didn’t get into the Hall of Fame in his first two years of eligibility. His 1,078 catches rank eighth all-time, and his 15,934 receiving yards trail only Rice (22,895).
While Owens, who had famously tempestuous tenures in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas, had to wait until his third ballot, Moss got in on his first.
That didn’t seem to mute Owens’ celebration. He posted a social-media photo of a black baseball cap with “HOF” in gold letters and a caption congratulating his fellow classmates, saying, “We’re GOLDEN!” He was not in Minneapolis where the Hall of Fame class was announced and where the Super Bowl will be played.
Jed York, the 49ers CEO, posted a congratulatory message to Owens and others, as did Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. Owens became a de facto side show during his two seasons in Philadelphia and still is feuding with the team’s quarterback at the time, Donovan McNabb.
Still, Lurie wrote that the wideout “is very deserving of this honor. We appreciate all of his contributions to the league and to one of the finest seasons in the history of our franchise.”
Not surprisingly, voters spent the most time on Saturday debating Owens; the discussion lasted 45 minutes, 23 seconds.
Owens’ and Moss’ pending inductions, as well as Beathard’s connection to the 49ers, makes San Francisco a possible candidate to play in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio in early August.
The last time the 49ers appeared in that exhibition game was 2000 when Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Dave Wilcox were inducted. San Francisco fell 20-0 to the Patriots that day, a game in which then-rookie quarterback Tom Brady received mop-up duty late in the contest.