It’s a good weekend to be a fan of the NFL, as the eight remaining teams square off in the divisional playoffs.
And 49ers fans do not have to feel left out of the action. Each of the eight teams has ties to the 49ers. I thought it would be a quick and easy blog entry to scan the team directories to document those connections. This ended up taking me a lot longer than I had planned.
* * *
Cardinals at Saints, FOX, 1:30 p.m.
–Outside linebacker Chike Okeafor, No. 56: He was the 49ers’ third-round pick in 1999. (Reggie McGrew was chosen in the first round.) Okeafor has played 11 seasons in the league. The 49ers did not pony up to retain him after the 2002 season. He played four seasons for the 49ers, and I can’t say I ever had a normal conversation with him. Yep, that probably means I’m a bit eccentric. Anyway, he started 13 games and recorded 4.5 sacks for the Cardinals this season.
–Free safety Antrel Rolle, No. 21: He was the only defensive player the 49ers brought to Santa Clara and named as a candidate to be chosen No. 1 overall in 2005. He was a cornerback back in those days. The Cardinals have since moved him to safety. He started 15 games and had 72 tackles and four interceptions.
–Quarterback Kurt Warner, No. 13: The 49ers went after him at the opening of free agency last year and were willing to offer him big bucks. But Warner opted to remain with the Cardinals. He might very well control the balance of power in the NFC West. He had another nice season with the Cardinals, and things in the NFC West next season could hinge on whether he opts to return for a 13th season.
–Defensive coordinator Bill Davis: Mike Nolan hired him as defensive coordinator in 2005, but Nolan ended up taking over the defense and firing Davis – then known as “Billy” — after two seasons. Davis is in his first season as coordinator with the Cardinals. His unit ranked 20th overall in total defense, and tied for 14th in point allowed.
–Also, former 49ers practice squad linebacker and training camp invitee Mark Washington is on the Cardinals practice squad . . . former 49ers publicity manager Cindy Krawczyk is coach Ken Whisenhunt’s assistant.
–Safety Pierson Prioleau, No. 31: He’s in his 11th year from Virginia Tech after the 49ers picked him in the fourth round of the 1999 draft. He spent two seasons with the 49ers before moving on to the Bills, Redskins and Jaguars. He played all 16 games for the Saints this season with no starts. He made 29 tackles.
–Defensive end Will Smith, No. 91: He is the player the 49ers were prepared to take with the No. 16 overall pick in 2004. (They had the card ready to go.) But at the last second, Terry Donahue pulled the trigger on a trade to move back in the draft. That’s the draft the 49ers selected Rashaun Woods in the first round. But all was not lost. That trade also put them in position to select Shawntae Spencer in the second round.
* * *
Ravens at Colts, CBS, 5 p.m.
–Right tackle Michael Oher, No. 74: He is player the 49ers were prepared to take with the No. 10 pick in the 2009 draft over B.J. Raji or just about anybody else . . . with the exception of Michael Crabtree.
–Jim Hostler, wide receivers coach: He served three seasons on the 49ers’ staff, including one forgettable campaign as offensive coordinator. That season at quarterback, Hostler had a healthy Alex Smith for three games, an Alex Smith with a separated shoulder for three games, Trent Dilfer for six games, Shaun Hill for three games, and Chris Weinke for one game. Hostler took over as wide receivers coach in 2008, as Ravens coach John Harbaugh picked Hostler and decided against retaining current 49ers quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson.
–Also, quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson interviewed with Mike Singletary last year for offensive coordinator position . . . Media relations director Chad Steele worked in public relations for the 49ers . . . Mike Duffy, the team’s website content writer/coordinator, worked a season for the 49ers . . . And, just because, Craig Singleterry, who works in security, is not only not related to the 49ers’ head coach, his name isn’t even spelled the same way.
–Clyde Christensen, assistant head coach/receivers: He interviewed with Singletary for offensive-coordinator spot last year.
–Howard Mudd, senior offensive line coach: He was a ninth-round pick of the 49ers in 1964 and played six seasons with the team.
* * *
Cowboys at Vikings, FOX, 10 a.m.
–Guard Kyle Kosier, No. 63: He’s in his eighth season after the 49ers selected him in the seventh round of the 2002 draft. The 49ers let him get away inexpensively to the Lions as a restricted free agent. (With the compensation, they selected receiver Marcus Maxwell in 2005.) He started all 16 games for the Cowboys this season.
–Ray Sherman, wide receivers coach: He spent three seasons (1991-93) with the 49ers, first as their running backs coach and then coaching receivers. Jerry Rice in 1993 had 1,503 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
—Brett Maxie, assistant secondary coach: He played briefly for the 49ers in 1997, and then spent five seasons on the coaching staff.
–Kicker Ryan Longwell, No. 8: The former Cal kicker signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 1997. But Longwell didn’t even make it to training camp, as the 49ers went with veteran Gary Anderson. Longwell spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Packers.
–Brad Childress, head coach: Interviewed for the head-coaching job in 2003 after Steve Mariucci was fired. Childress, who did not impress club officials, publicly removed his name from consideration. The 49ers ended up hiring Dennis Erickson.
–Pat Morris, offensive line coach: He worked alongside Bobb McKittrick for a couple seasons and took over as line coach from 1999 to 2003. You can trace the fall of the 49ers’ offensive line to when he was not retained on Erickson’s staff.
–George Stewart, wide receivers coach: He is one of the best assistant coaches I’ve been around. He was special-teams coordinator and receivers coach with the 49ers for a period of eight seasons. I contend he would make an outstanding head coach. One of his daily drills with receivers is working on getting their feet down near the boundary. And that work with newly acquired Greg Lewis was credited as a big reason he was able to execute the catch inbounds in the back of the end zone to team with Brett Favre to defeat the 49ers earlier this season.
* * *
Jets at Chargers, CBS, 1:30 p.m.
–Defensive end Marques Douglas, No. 93: He spent 2005-’07 with the 49ers, and was really a positive influence on and off the field. But he 49ers wanted to get more stout in their 3-4 defense. He started 12 games for the Jets and recorded 64 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
–Wide receiver Braylon Edwards, No. 17: He was one of four players brought to Santa Clara in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 draft. He’s had one really good season out of five, and the Browns finally gave up on him and dealt him to the Jets before the trade deadline.
–Cornerback Donald Strickland, No. 27: The native of San Francisco was not re-signed after last season after playing 30 games for the 49ers in three previous seasons. He played nine games for the Jets and might not be active for the game.
–Matt Cavanaugh, quarterbacks coach: Played three seasons for the 49ers (1983-85), and worked one seasons (1996) as quarterbacks coach under offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.
–Anthony Lynn, running backs coach: Played two seasons for the 49ers, 1995-’96.
–Brian Schottenheimer, offensive coordinator: He’s the nephew of Kurt Schottenheimer, who interviewed Friday for the 49ers’ vacant special-teams coordinator position.
–Norv Turner, head coach: He served one season on Mike Nolan’s staff as offensive coordinator in 1996. Turner did a good job with limited personnel, and seemed to be a very strong influence on quarterback Alex Smith. Turner was a candidate for the Cowboys’ head-coaching job, and ended up leaving for the Chargers after the abrupt firing of Marty Schottenheimer.
–Outside linebacker Marques Harris, No. 58: He played in four games for the Chargers after he played in four games for the 49ers, who released him on Oct. 27 to promote rookie Diyral Briggs to the 53-man roster.
–Inside linebacker Dontarrious Thomas: He’s on the Chargers, though he hasn’t played this season. He was in camp with the 49ers two seasons ago but was among the final cuts.
–Also, former 49ers practice-squader Joe Toledo, an offensive lineman, is on the Chargers’ practice squad.
–Rob Chudzinski, tight ends/assistant head coach: He interviewed with Singletary for offensive-coordinator position last year. He was believed to be a strong candidate, but ended up on Turner’s staff instead.
–Jimmy Raye, director of player personnel: His father is offensive coordinator of 49ers.
* * *