Newest San Francisco 49er—cornerback Dré Bly—has played for a Super Bowl-winning St. Louis Rams team as a rookie in 1999, has been a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Detroit Lions in 2003 and 2004, and has also led the Denver Broncos with five interceptions in 2007.
The 49er Faithful are buzzing with excitement about San Francisco's May 21, 2009 signing of Bly as a suitable replacement for the injured Walt Harris and there is a chance the 32-year old free agent could be a mainstay like the veteran Harris, shutdown corner Nate Clements who was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills, former New Orleans Saint Toi Cook or even solid cornerback/safety Marquez Pope who signed with the 49ers after playing with the Los Angeles Rams.
There may be a possibility Bly may be a one hit wonder like Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson when they came by in 1994 and 1997 respectively during their impressive careers.
But he also could be a one strike and your out free agent bust like Antonio Langham when the 49ers signed him away from the Baltimore Ravens in 1998.
Langham was a highly touted but controversial cornerback from the University of Alabama and was selected by the original Cleveland Browns with the 9th overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft.
He was the reason Alabama hadto forfeit most of the 1993 season because he secretly signed with an agent during the previous off-season, a major violation of NCAA regulations.
Langham also signed and submitted an application to enter the 1993 NFL Draft making him ineligible to play under NCAA rules, regardless of whether or not he signed with an agent.
Additionally, head coach Gene Stallings failed to inform both the SEC and the NCAA of his draft application leading to the Crimson Tide having to forfeit a total of eight wins and a tie from the 1993 football season.
As a talented cornerback with a 6'0" 187 lb frame, Langham was physically gifted and earned Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team honors with the Browns in 1994 and had his best year as a pro during the 1996 season when he intercepted five passes for 59 yards for the former Browns who were now in Baltimore.
Langham is also the only player to have played for Cleveland before they became the Baltimore Ravens and returned to play for the expansion Browns franchise in 1999.
Some 49er fans remember Langham for starting six games, missing four weeks due to a left knee injury and recovering just in time to briefly appear in playoff games against the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.
However, many remember the talented cornerback getting constantly burned for touchdowns by opposing quarterbacks because of the knee injury that eventually forced him out of action. He would play in a total of 11 games during the 1998 season with only one interception.
Versatile Darnell Walker who played both right and left cornerback would start all 16 regular season games and tied for the team lead with four interceptions.
Walker officially supplanted the former 1st round pick when Langham was not invited back to San Francisco for the 1999 season. That ended his unspectacular one year 49er career.
So before everybody thinks Dré Bly is the second coming, he could also be the next Antonio Langham.