Player Feature: Jason Verrett
Throughout his NFL career, Jason Verrett continues to be involved in multiple community outreach initiatives, looking to positively impact the public. One that he frequently partakes in is the Play 60 program, which encourages kids to spend at least 60 minutes a day outside. During the events, players engage with young fans through drills, scrimmages, and more. As a professional football player, Verrett knows the importance of staying active and passes that wisdom on when he can. “Follow your heart, keep your dreams alive,” he said. “That was something I did when I was younger. I just kept my dream alive, all about football. Making sure I took care of my body. All the right things to keep me going.”
In December of 2018, Verrett spent his time with the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club, providing 50 children with winter coats, gift cards, and toys. “Our Christmas party brings together the best in our community, especially the kids. They never know what gifts they will receive, or if they will even receive a gift,” said Anna Eaton, executive director of the club. “[they] all were especially warmed to know that a community member thought of them.”
Read more about Jason Verrett by clicking his bio below.
Coach's Corner: Bobby Turner
This month’s “Coach’s Corner” comes from 49ers Running Backs Coach, Bobby Turner.
What drives you to continue your career as a coach? What are the most rewarding elements of your job?
“What drives me is that I still have the love and passion for it. Outside of wanting to be a pro player in the NBA or NFL, I’ve always wanted to coach since I was 12-years-old. It involves so much of teaching, but also helping young men, seeing them grow and that’s what keeps me going. When everyone else sees these guys on Sundays or Monday and Thursday night football, they don’t know all of the hard work, time and energy that gets put in to get them to that point.”
“I started coaching 48 years ago and everyone always asks how long I plan on doing this. I always tell them that it’s whenever I wake up and say this isn’t fun anymore. It’s hard and it’s hard work, but until I wake up and say this isn’t what I want to do or this feels like a job, I’ll keep doing it. I don’t even think about retiring. Also, the players will let you know. As long as they give you that respect and they’re playing hard for you, that’s all you can ask. There’s life and then there’s life after football. My whole thing is seeing them proposer on the football field and in the game of life, it’s not just about the X’s and O’s.”
As a coach, what excites you most about the running back group you have this year?
“They’re young and they’re coachable. Of course they are talented and physical, but the key thing is their character, the character traits of this group. I really enjoy coaching players that want to be coached. These players are willing, they’re not selfish and they know that it takes all 11. They know that it’s not about themselves, it’s about team above self. That’s the main thing that I enjoy about my players.”
What skills does a running back need to be successful in Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense?
“I’ve been doing this for 48 years so I’ve been involved with a lot of head coaches and for any offense, a young man must be able to have running skills. He must have instincts, run instincts. I don’t care what offense, what head coach, what offensive coordinator, he’s got to be a runner first and foremost and be instinctive.”
“Again, he’s got to be coachable. I mentioned this earlier, we look for certain things, but I want a player that can be able to have vision. He has to understand how all 11 work together. Running backs are key in helping set up the blocks, not only for the linemen and the tight end, but the wide receivers. Last but not least, he’s got to be the perfect fit, it’s got to be like a marriage. It’s got to be the perfect fit, and that’s what makes the offense run.”
What are the intangibles that you look for when looking for players to fit that system?
“Again, it’s the character, coachability, character traits, and the ability to be able to run the ball, to stick his foot in the ground and understand what we’re trying to teach. In our offense, our basic philosophy is number one, we don’t want to lose any yards, and so not only in coach Shanahan’s offense, that’s a philosophy that I’ve always had, which is why we work together well as a staff, our philosophies work together. A player has to be able to run, be able to catch the ball, make plays, but most importantly he has to see the big picture of where he fits in overall.”
What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned over your career?
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is knowing when to step out of the way, when to let the players go, in other words. I learn a lot from my players. I’m constantly asking them questions. I coach the heck out of them Monday through Saturday, but on game day, I let them play. We all want to be perfect. I want to make the perfect calls, I want to have the perfect guy at the perfect time and all that stuff, but that’s what you shoot for, that’s what you work for, but the bottom line is that I want them to be able to relax. I want them to be able to play fast and if they make a mistake, they make a mistake playing hard and fast. If I’ve picked up anything through my years it’s that, just let them be able to play.
To read more about Coach Turner, click his bio below.
WON of Us: Debbie Ryan
Debbie Ryan, or better known as Top Hat Deb, is a season ticket holder who sees herself as a motherly figure that all 49ers fans can look to for guidance.
I first became a fan of the 49ers back in 1966. My Uncles were all avid 49ers fans and being the oldest, I was always looking to do things that the adults in the family were doing. For me, that meant hanging out with my uncles, watching 49ers football and becoming a lifelong 49ers fan myself.
What do you love about WON?
I think that often times as women, people don’t always think that we understand the game of football or aren’t as passionate of fans as men. But with WON, we are able to come together and share our passion and talk real football with women of all levels of football knowledge. Each event is a place where we know that we can be ourselves and share stories with one common theme: 49ers football. My favorite event was the WON: Meet the Women of the Front Office Mixer. It was so inspiring to see so many wonderful women working at various levels of the 49ers organization. Back in my day, you didn’t see many women working in professional football and it is so great to see the organization empowering women, but it is even better to these women striving in these roles.
Was there one inspirational moment in team history that confirmed your 49ers fandom?
There isn’t one moment on the field that stands out to me, but a string of personal memories with the 49ers great, Defensive Tackle Bryant Young. Young attended the same church as our family and he became a very important figure in my family. Unfortunately, my son’s father has not been around for much of his life but after meeting at church, Young really took my son under his wing and became a father figure in his life. These moments stand out to me because it really showed how community driven this great football player is. Not only was he a great player on the field for the 49ers but an even better man for our community off the field.
Get to know WON member Debbie "Top Hat Deb" Ryan.
What 49ers traditions or superstitions do you/your family have?
I don’t have any superstitions, but our group definitely has built out its own traditions. One thing that has always reigned true throughout the years, is that I always show up to the game or tailgate early. Then of course, there is my top hat. They don’t call me Top Hat Deb for nothing! I have a hat for every jersey color of the 49ers. Each game, home or away, I always match my outfit and hat with the jersey color that the team will be wearing. It’s something special that I do to stand out and everyone knows that if they’re looking for me, just to look for me in my top hat!
What impact has the 49ers had on your life?
The 49ers continues to have a great impact on my life! It started as a thing that brought our family together and since becoming a fan as a kid, the team has brought so many great people into my life. I am a proud member of the 408 Niner Empire Chapter. We get together to watch games, welcome fans traveling to the Bay Area for home games, and support one another, all in the spirit of football. The 49ers have given me the opportunity to meet so many great people in my life.
Community Tuesday in Youngstown, OH
The York family has been a pillar in their hometown community of Youngstown, Ohio for decades, continuously supporting numerous programs in the city and giving back in countless ways.
Following the 49ers season opener in Tampa Bay, the team traveled to Youngstown to train and practice in preparation for the team’s game against Cincinnati the following Sunday. The 49ers last trained in Youngstown in 2012, making it many of the players’ first opportunity to experience the city and learn more about the 49ers owners’ legacy in the area.
In line with the family’s mission of giving back, the 49ers took their weekly “Community Tuesday” on the road by hosting three community events in the greater Youngstown area. Players, led by QB Jimmy Garoppolo, kicked off the day by visiting a local children’s hospital to boost spirits for patients and their families. Players distributed care packages at the inpatient unit and special care nursery along with dishing out plenty of high-fives, smiles, and autographs. The York family and 49ers GM John Lynch also took part in the event.
Next, CB Richard Sherman and his teammates visited Williamson Elementary School to promote social inclusion and anti-bullying. This event was held in collaboration with Sandy Hook Promise’s Start with Hello program and United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.
The team concluded the day at Easterseals, where players created football-themed paintings and participated in fun games alongside youth and adults with disabilities.
Take a look at the top images of the 49ers Community Blitz at three local Youngstown, Ohio organizations.
Through the Lens
Meg Williams, a team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers, shares her favorite moments covering the 49ers 3-0 start to the 2019 season.
Interceptions are one of the hardest things in sports to photograph because of the unpredictable nature of them. They can also look pretty chaotic in the final image, often being cluttered with refs and players blocking part of the frame. One of the reasons why I was so excited when I checked the back of my camera after LB Mark Nzeocha’s interception is because it’s so clean. Nzeocha is seen with the ball right after he caught it and the Tampa Bay player is on the ground looking up at him. That’s it. Which is very exciting! It tells the entire story of the game changing play without any extra figures distracting from the moment captured in the photo.
To mark the first offensive touchdown of the 2019 season, #13 WR Richie James Jr. caught a beautiful pass from #10 QB Jimmy Garoppolo in Tampa Bay. This game had amazing energy and was a great way to begin the season. It really set the tone for the 3-0 start to the year.
The light was beautiful during the home opener against the Pittsburg Steelers. It’s the time of year where later in the game the sun starts to peep under each player’s helmet and you can see their eyes below the helmet shadow. The way that Jimmy Garoppolo’s facemask is perfectly aligned where his eyes are naturally lit by the sunlight is everything I could hope for in an action shot. The look of resolve on his face and warm red color complements to the overall intensity of the image.
In the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 3 match up I caught DL Arik Armstead’s forced fumble with the ball squeaking out. Both player’s faces are pointed at the ball and it makes me wonder what was going through both of their minds when they saw that the ball was loose. The next couple of frames in this sequence I was blocked by a couple of players running after the ball. Because of that, this is the only clean frame I have and I am so grateful I was able to get a clear look during the peak action of the play. This is another example of a clean frame that showcases a game changing play for this new 49ers defense.
In Cincinnati for Week 2, following player introductions many of our guys on the sidelines share prayers, hugs, and pump each other up for the game. Some sit still to themselves and gather their thoughts. A last quiet moment before the chaos of a football game. This photo of #11 WR Marquise Goodwin was right after he finished bowing his head, getting his mind right. He looked up at me and showed off his grill. It’s a fun playful moment that lets you explore his personality.
At the end of our Week 3 game against the Steelers, #25 CB Richard Sherman and #24 CB K'Waun Williams hopped up on the benches to thank the Faithful. The crowd was engaged in the game from start to finish and the defense was clearly grateful. This image so evidently shows some of our top players saying, “Thanks for getting loud! We can’t wait to come back after the bye week and do it again!”
WON Event Reminder
Save the Date: Thursday, October 3, 2019
WON Health & Wellness Fair
WON Members were offered the chance to receive a free massage, acupuncture or express facial during the WON Health and Wellness Fair. All in attendance also participated in a yoga class on the field of Levi's® Stadium.
This Month in 49ers History
A look at marquee moments throughout the team’s rich history pulled from the 49ers Archives.
October 7, 1956
Gordy Soltau kicked four field goals in the 49ers, 33-30 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Soltau doubled as a kicker and receiver. He retired in 1958 as the 49ers career scoring leader (since broken) with 644 points. Former team President Lou Spadia dubbed Soltau, “The Rams Killer,” because he played his best games against the southern CA rivals.
Edited by // Beth Atlas, Manager & Curator, 49ers Museum