Another accomplished member of the San Francisco 49ers family is taking his rightful place in the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
Brent Jones, an 11-year veteran tight end with three Super Bowl rings and four Pro Bowl appearances, is the latest inductee into the BASHOF.
Jones will be officially inducted Thursday night along with San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown and former Oakland A’s owner, Walter A. Haas Jr.
Of the four inductees, the former 49ers tight end has the strongest ties to the Bay Area.
Jones grew up in Almaden Valley, played his college football at Santa Clara and enjoyed one of the most productive careers by a 49ers tight end in franchise history.
Jones grew up idolizing Bay Area sports legends like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, Nate Thurmond and Fred Biletnikoff. The former 49ers tight end appreciated their contributions to the Bay Area sports landscape and valued the honor of being inducted into the Bay Area's Sports Hall of Fame.
“It’s amazing to have experienced the whole thing and then to be a small part of it historically,” Jones told 49ers.com. “The most exciting part is joining some of my old teammates; I look up to those guys so much. To be right there beside them is pretty special.”
Jones will join several 49ers greats in the BASHOF, a group that includes the likes of Pro Football Hall of Famers: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young and Ronnie Lott.
Jones' contributions didn't go unnoticed by his peers or Bay Area sports fans. The former tight end was productive throughout his 11 seasons with the 49ers.
Jones ranks fifth in 49ers history in receptions (417), seventh in receiving yards (5,195) and ninth in touchdown receptions (33). He also played in 143 games, third-most by a WR/TE in team history.
Jones’ career almost never got started with the 49ers if not for a dangerous car accident. After being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth-round of the 1986 NFL Draft, Jones was hit by a drunk driver and suffered a herniated disc in his neck from the crash.
Jones, however, wasn’t out of a job for long. The 49ers and Bill Walsh came calling soon after. San Francisco’s Hall of Fame coach had scouted Jones at Santa Clara and was familiar with the tight end’s pass-catching ability.
Jones’ return to the Bay Area was even more special due to his history in the region.
“To have the opportunity to sign with the 49ers, make the team and play for 11 years, it was remarkable,” Jones said of his experience in San Francisco. “To experience that right here at home with all my family and friends it was really something to be excited about.”
Jones was a consistent performer for the 49ers from 1987-1997 and was a key component in San Francisco’s high-powered passing game.
Throughout Jones’ career, the 49ers tight end remained a fan of his fellow Bay Area athletes. Jones kept a close eye on Righetti’s pitching career and respected the immense talent of Brown, a rival with the Raiders. The Giants pitching coach grew up in Jones’ home town and has become a good friend of the former tight end in recent years.
“It’s a huge honor to be going in with them,” Jones said of the 2013 inductees.
Jones remains active in the Bay Area sports community. When he’s not helping with the construction of sports fields in underprivileged areas, he’s giving football instruction to Bay Area high school athletes and attending as many sporting events as possible.
“I’m a Bay Area sports fan, love and support all of our teams,” Jones said.
Because of his local ties, Jones truly appreciates the value of his BASHOF enshrinement.
“It’s a unique perspective,” Jones began, “I can’t think of any guys I played with that were born and played locally. We’ve got a lot of great transplants, but I don’t know if that means they followed the teams and understand the history and the legacy like I do.”
Jones appreciates the legacy of Bay Area sports, but he also keeps close tabs on his former team. With the 49ers drafting Rice tight end
“I’ve heard great things about Vance,” Jones said. “I know Jim (Harbaugh) and the staff over there absolutely know what they’re doing, I feel like that’s second tight end role on the 49ers offense is an important role.
“The opportunity for Vance will be great. It will be exciting to watch him over the summer and into the fall.”
But before Jones can take in the development of the newest tight end on the 49ers, he’ll relish the opportunity to celebrate his 11-year run in San Francisco.
“The older you get the more special these things become,” Jones said. “To sneak into the Bay Area Sports of Hall of Fame with the legends of the game, to add my name to that list it feels fantastic. It feels like the culmination of an unbelievable ride.”