August 16 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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There was a time, not to long ago when free agents and rookies alike when out of their way, turning down large contracts and moving far away from home to play for the 49ers. There was a certain something about the organization, that stemmed mainly from its winning history that encouraged players to join on for less money than they could receive elsewhere.
The past few years, this magic seemed to dissipate from the organizations. Sure players wouldn’t complain about being a part of the 49ers, but the phrase “I wanted To Be A 49er” was not uttered half as much. After one winning season, that feeling has already began to spread again through the free agent field.
Most recently, veteran Chad Cota, who signed with the club this week stated that he always wanted to play for the 49ers. Cota turned down larger offers earlier this off-season, but was willing to play for the 49ers for less. (In part because time is certainly running out now, but also in part because it was the 49ers).
The same expression was stated earlier this off-season by Sean Moran and Jim Flannigan. Recently re-signed, center Ben Lynch even stated even stated that he would call the 49ers before signing an offer with any other team, he wanted to play with the 49ers so badly. Jonas Lewis had similar sentiments, but the 49ers let him walk to Detroit. There are others like JJ Stokes who took pay cuts to remain with the 49ers too.
That Niner Magic is certainly back with the team. It hasn’t quite taken the NFL by storm, as it once had, but if the 49ers keep on winning, they should get the better end of the talent pool to look there way. It helped them achieve two decades of winning, and likely would do the same for the future as it did for the past.