The 1990 NFL draft class featured Pro Football Hall of Famers Cortez Kennedy and Emmitt Smith.
No one could have anticipated fifth overall choice Junior Seau, 43, joining that second tragic list before taking his rightful place among Kennedy and Smith as Hall of Famers from that draft class.
Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com grew up in San Diego and covered the AFC West during Seau's prime years with the San Diego Chargers. Farnsworth: "I knew of Seau before I ever saw him play. In the fall of 1973, I was working for a newspaper in Oceanside, Calif., and covering the high school football team. Seau played at Oceanside High before becoming an All-American at USC. Just the mention of his name would create a silence of reverence in the locker room, especially from the players of Samoan decent. Whenever coach Herb Meyer needed an example while discussing a current player, he would evoke memories of Seau. Unfortunately, that’s all any of us are left with -- our memories of Tiaina Baul Seau, Jr."
Also from Farnsworth: Michael Robinson's plan to build on a Pro Bowl season.
Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle thinks Visanthe Shiancoe would be an appealing option for the Seahawks at tight end.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers thoughts on the Cardinals' front-office changes involving Steve Keim and Jason Licht. Somers: "It's interesting, and I would think encouraging for the Cardinals, that both Keim and Licht were considered for general managers' jobs in the off-season. Keim interviewed in St. Louis, and Licht in Chicago. T.J. McCreight, one of the unsung workhorses in the organization, moved from pro personnel director to a job in the Colts' front office."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that former Rams kicker Josh Brown has signed with the New York Jets. Thomas: "Brown, 33, was deemed expendable in St. Louis after the Rams drafted Missouri Western State kicker Greg Zuerlein in the sixth round of the NFL draft Saturday. Fisher informed Brown he was being released later Saturday. With the Jets, Brown is expected to compete with Nick Folk for the kicking job."
Also from Thomas: a chat transcript with thoughts on the offensive line, and more. Thomas: "They did add Scott Wells at center, a former Pro Bowler, in free agency from Green Bay. They added G/T Quinn Ojinnaka and C/G Robert Turner in free agency. And they drafted Rokevious "Rock" (or he might spell it "Rok" _ I'll have to find out ) Watkins in the fifth round. Line coach Paul Boudreau is known for being able to develop talent. The belief is he'll get Saffold back up to par at left tackle and can straighten out Jason Smith's technique. For now, Ojinnaka, Turner, Watkins, and returning squad member Bryan Mattison will all be thrown in the mix competing for the left guard line."
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com offers thoughts on the 49ers' crowded offensive backfield. Maiocco: "As Frank Gore begins his eighth NFL season and has 1,653 regular-season rush attempts, the 49ers finally have some quality depth behind him. It seems likely that Gore's play time will decrease this season with more players capable of filling in. ... Anthony Dixon played just 52 snaps of offense last season. Dixon must convince the 49ers' coaching staff that he's as serious about his football career as the other running backs on the roster. As the offseason begins, Dixon clearly has the most ground to make up in the battle to win a roster spot."
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News offers thoughts from current and former 49ers on Seau's passing.