49ers Great Billy Wilson Passes Away

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Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Billy Wilson passed away peacefully early Tuesday morning in the presence of his family in Southern California. 49ers owners Denise and John York issued the following statement.

"When you look at what Billy accomplished in his 10 years as a 49ers player, it's quite remarkable. Considered as one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game, Billy's impact on the 49ers organization is far-reaching, not only as player, but also as a coach and administrator. We are grateful for all of Billy's contributions and he will be missed."

Wilson also drew praise from some of his fellow NFL greats. After Wilson's playing days were over, many Hall of Fame players and coaches spoke on Wilson's remarkable career.

"Billy had hands like glue," said former teammate Bob St. Clair. "His ability to run after the catch was amazing. He is probably one of the most underrated players in NFL history."

"Billy had speed and incomparable agility," said Hall of Fame 49ers Coach Bill Wash. "No one could go up for a ball like he could in traffic. He was also one of the best blocking receivers the game has seen."

"He was one of the fiercest competitors I ever played with," said former teammate Y.A. Tittle. "He was our #1 receiver. Whenever we needed a big catch, I went to him, because I knew he would make the play."

"I remember a play Billy made when he caught a pass, leaped straight up into the air over myself and two other defenders and ran it in for a touchdown," said Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula. "It was a great play and he truly was a great receiver. He is one of the few players of another era that would excel today."

"Billy Wilson was almost impossible to cover," said Hall of Fame Coach Tom Landry. "He was a great receiver who had a great mind and understanding of the game."

Wilson played with the 49ers from 1951-1960 and is fourth among the 49ers' all-time receiving touchdown leaders. His mark of 5,902 yards in a 49ers uniform places him fifth all time in San Francisco history, behind only Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Dwight Clark and Gene Washington. He averaged 14.5 yards per reception on 407 career receptions with the 49ers, marks that place him sixth in both categories among all-time 49ers players.

Wilson led the NFL three times in pass receptions (1954, 1956 and 1957) and was in the Pro Bowl six times, including 1955 when he was the MVP. He remained for many years with the 49ers as an assistant coach and scout.

ALL-TIME 49ERS RECEIVING LEADERS

Player

G

Rec

Yds

Avg

Lg

TD

Yds/G

Jerry Rice

238

1,281

19,247

15.0

96t

176

80.9

Terrell Owens

121

592

8,572

14.5

79t

81

70.8

Dwight Clark

134

506

6,750

13.3

80t

48

50.4

Gene Washington

124

371

6,664

18.0

79t

59

53.7

Billy Wilson

100

407

5,902

14.5

77t

49

59.0

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