Summarized by Kent Larsen
Mormon George Lyons Who Signed With 49ers As Walked On
Sacramento CA Bee 19Apr00 P2
By Kathryn Dore Perkins: Bee Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- It takes a lot of chutzpah to call up an
NFL team and tell them that you can kick better than their kicker. It
takes even more to follow up and actually try out. But that's exactly
what George Michael Lyons did in the late 1970s. He ended up with a
four-game NFL career playing for the San Francisco 49ers.
Lyons, 44, died Saturday, April 15th at UC Davis Medical Center
following injuries sustained in an accident on April 11th while he
and a friend were pulling a boat out of the water of the Sacramento
River. Lyons suffered extensive brain damage after falling and
striking his head during the accident. "We were shooting for quality
of life, and it just didn't happen," said his brother, Sean Lyons.
"So the family made the decision to turn off the ventilator. That is
exactly what he wanted. He was a great athlete, very competitive."
Lyons was a dynamic, confident and athletically gifted, leading
friends to nickname him "The King." In the late '70s, Lyons was
watching an NFL team on television, and remarked that he could kick
better than the team's punter, and decided to prove it. "He
telephoned a scout for the team and said, 'This is Mike 'Boot' Lyons,
(a name he made up on the spot). . . . I can kick a lot better than
your kicker. Give me a try.'" related Sean Lyons.
George Lyons did try out for the team, and in July 1978 contacted the
San Francisco 49ers because they were his favorite team, and he had
learned they needed a kicker. Meeting a scout at the 49ers practice
facility in Palo Alto, Lyons was told, "Mike, see that office up
there. Bill Walsh is up there watching you. Kick one as far as you
can." "Mike booted one way up to the balcony. He just sailed it. It
was probably the longest kick ever in his life. They signed him right
after that," Sean Lyons said. Unfortunately, after playing for the
49ers for just four games, Lyons tore ligaments in his knee and ankle
while jogging with his dog.
He then returned to Sacramento, eventually establishing Lyons and
Associates Insurance Services. His funeral was held at the LDS
Church's Foothills Ward Chapel in Sacramento.