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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 18, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 13Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

49ers' QB Steve Young's Legacy
Associated Press 12Jun00 S2
By Dennis Georgatos: AP Sports Writer

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA -- As expected NFL star Steve Young announced his retirement Monday and said goodbye to football in the San Francisco 49ers locker room. While he said, "For the record, I know I can still play, The fire still burns , but not enough for the stakes. Retiring at 38 ... in some ways, it sucks. In my mind, I leave the game playing my best football." Young leaves the game with a storied, 15-year, Hall-of-Fame-bound career that included two MVP Awards, a Super Bowl title in 1995 and arguably the best passing record in NFL history.

Standing before a large banner in the locker room, Young was at ease, laughing and cracking jokes, but at least once fighting back tears as he discussed his career and his future. He said that he had chosen the locker room because of what it represents to the player, "This is the most intimate place for a football player. ... This is where football happens away from the crowd. This is where I show up for work. I wanted to show up one more day."

Attending the news conference were, in addition to the current 49er staff and players, former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo,Cleveland Browns president Carmen Policy (formerly with the 49ers), Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan (former 49ers offensive coordinator), BYU Coach LaVell Edwards and Young's friends and family. He was honored by the current coach, Steve Mariucci, who told Young, "We love everything about you, what you've done and who you are."

"I leave the game having played my best football," Young told the news conference. "It just kind of settled on me that this was the right thing to do. And so I do it with a great deal of joy." He added that he is looking forward to the rest of his life. With his wife Barbara expecting a baby in late December, Young said, "In many ways what lies ahead for me is more important than what I leave behind,'' he said.

Jerry Rice, the wide receiver with whom Young combined to make the most prolific touchdown-pass tandem in NFL history, spoke to the group also, reading a poem he wrote, entitled, "Sometimes we dream and dreams come true.'' Other colleagues also praised Young, saying that he was one of the top five quarterbacks in NFL history, tight end Brent Jones pointing to his success coming on the heels of Hall of Famer Joe Montana, "None of those other four, whoever they may be, followed a Hall of Famer,'' Jones said. "That, to me, is the single greatest accomplishment in sports."

Young's record includes an equally great record as a runner, where he rushed for an NFL-record 43 touchdowns as a quarterback. Young was sent to the Pro Bowl seven times, and the Associated Press notes that his remarkable 49-yard scramble in 1988 against Minnesota "endures as one of the great broken-field runs."

Another great Young play came in an exhibition game in 1995 against the San Diego Chargers. During the play, Young's helmet was ripped off, leaving him vulnerable. While most quarterbacks would have immediately dropped to the ground and covered their head, Young scrambled, gaining eight yards on the play, "That's the greatest play I've seen in four years," then-fullback William Floyd said. "Don't do it again."

In the end, Young said that his family is where he belongs now, in spite of the fact that its is also harder, "My dad's an old football player,'' he said. "If you asked my dad right now and he was truly honest, he'd tell me to walk over to the locker, put the pads on and go out there and be a man. . . . In some ways starting a family right now made it all the harder because, as I've said, I always wanted my family to see me play,'' he said.

But Young, his timing flawless as always, said this was the moment to go.

He leaves the game, as most agree, better prepared for life after sports than any other player. But exactly what Young will do isn't clear. He said yesterday that he plans to worlk with his Forever Young Foundation, and is listed as CEO of an Internet venture, He has also passed the bar exam, and could therefore practice law. And, he is being sought as a commentator on Monday Night Football.

See also:

When Steve Was Young
San Jose CA Mercury News 12Jun00 S2
By Sam Farmer: Mercury News
As his career ends, family and friends reflect on its start

A great career comes to a close
San Francisco Examiner 12Jun00 S2
By John Crumpacker: Examiner Staff

Young's legacy differs from Montana's lore
Sporting News (AP) 11Jun00 S2


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