SANTA CLARA — This is a portrait of the 49ers’ best player, DeForest Buckner.
Buckner is a defensive tackle and an artist. He likes sacking quarterbacks and drawing. In college, he was the Pac-12 defensive player of the year in 2015 and the winner of the breakout artist award in one of his art classes at the University of Oregon.
He won the football award for recording 10½ sacks his senior season. And he won the art award for a self-portrait called “King of Pop,” where he’s posing like Michael Jackson. Buckner used spray paint on a vinyl canvas for this piece.
He also has a tattoo portrait on his right arm of the statue of the Pietà by Michelangelo. It’s the Virgin Mary holding Jesus’ dead body. “I really like portraits,” Buckner said while standing in front of his locker.
Everyone agrees Buckner is special. He is the bright spot on a winless 49ers team, even if the stats don’t show it. He has just 1½ sacks this season. But he is the 49ers’ highest-graded player, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.
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