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Kaepernick Deal a Result of Broncos Trade, Bethea Praised by Dungy, Rookie Inspired by Sean Taylor

Posted Jun 9, 2014

Colin Kaepernick used the weekend to celebrate his new deal, ex-Colts head coach Tony Dungy heaps praise on 49ers safety Antoine Bethea, 49ers rookie inspired by fallen cousin and more.

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1. Trade Partners

On day two of the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos made a trade that would transform the course of both franchises. The Broncos acquired the 45th, 108th and 141st overall picks for the 36th overall selection, which the 49ers spent on quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He, of course, just signed a contract to be the team’s signal-caller through 2020. Denver, meanwhile, ended up with free safety Rahim Moore, strong safety Quinton Carter and tight end Julius Thomas.

2. Kap's Pool Party

Kaepernick used the weekend to celebrate his new deal.

3. Bethea Praised by Tony Dungy, Bill Polian

The Indianapolis Colts selected undersized safety Antoine Bethea in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Tony Dungy, the Colts head coach at the time, recalled the pick. “I don’t think we ever dreamed we would get what we ended up getting,” Dungy told Sacbee.com. “He exceeded all our expectations.”

Dungy and then general manager Bill Polian had originally intended for Bethea to be a situational cornerback, but his play on the practice field quickly changed their plans. By just Bethea’s third practice, the coach and GM were already convinced of their new player’s abilities at safety. As his career moved along, his leadership and work ethic also became apparent. Polian said Bethea is “the consummate professional (and) self-starter,” and Dungy said he’s a guy “the coach never has to worry about.”

Eight seasons, 14 interceptions and two Pro Bowls into Bethea’s career, Polian is stunned that the Colts allowed Bethea to leave for San Francisco. “I was astounded when they let him go, to be honest with you,” Polian said. “That shocked me.” The 49ers are now counting on Bethea’s veteran leadership to anchor a new-look secondary.

4. Reaser Inspired by Fallen Cousin

When 49ers rookie cornerback Keith Reaser was 16, his cousin Sean Taylor, then a Pro Bowl safety for the Washington Redskins, was shot and killed by intruders in his home. “He would have been the best safety ever to play,” Reaser said of Taylor. “I want to make his memory proud.” Seven years after Taylor’s death, Reaser has brought the NFL back to his family.

5. Around the League