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Steve Young was traded to the 49ers 30 years ago

Apr 24, 2017 at 7:55 AM--

Quarterback Steve Young spent 15 years in the NFL. However, most remember him for his 13 years with the San Francisco 49ers. Monday, April 24th marks the 30-year anniversary of the date on which the quarterback was traded by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the 49ers in return for second- and fourth-round draft picks.

Young, who was seen as a bust after just two seasons with Tampa Bay, became a Hall of Fame quarterback with San Francisco. He went on to lead the league in passer rating six times over his career, was named as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player in 1992 and 1994, was selected to seven straight Pro Bowls, and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX.

Legendary 49ers head coach Bill Walsh was the man who saw something in Young that the Buccaneers did not. He was responsible for bringing Young to San Francisco. "[Walsh's] influence is now all over the league and I was grateful for the formative role he played in my progress," Young said during his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2005. "He believed in a scrambling lefty. Thanks Bill."

While Young is a three-time Super Bowl champion, two of those victories came as a backup to another legendary 49ers quarterback – Joe Montana. However, Young's 1994 season, which included nearly 4,000 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions while completing 70.3 percent of his passes, ended in a Super Bowl victory of his own.

During that postseason, Young led the 49ers to a 44-15 rout of the Chicago Bears and then helped to finally lift San Francisco past the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship on his way to a Super Bowl matchup with the San Diego Chargers.

Super Bowl XXIX saw Young set a record for the most touchdowns passes in a single Super Bowl with six. The accomplishment surpassed the previous record of five, which was set by Montana. Young passed for 325 yards and rushed for 49 more as the 49ers routed the Chargers by the score of 49-26 on their way to a then-record five Super Bowl championships.

"My favorite moment still was the five minutes after the Super Bowl when we were alone in the locker room," Young said during his speech in Canton. "Just the 50 players and coaches kneeling in the Lords prayer, then looking up at each other and realizing that, yes, we were world's champions. No media, no one, just us. That feeling when you do something great together is like no other. No MVP or passing title can compare to that feeling."

The 1999 season was Young's last. Already having suffered numerous concussions throughout his career, a Week 3 sack by cornerback Aeneas Williams would force him out of the game with yet another. That ended up being the final play of Young's career and he retired at the end of the year.

Over his 15-year career, Young passed for 33,124 yards, 232 touchdowns, 107 interceptions, 43 rushing touchdowns, and a 96.8 career passer rating during regular season play. He ranks fifth all-time in passer rating, fourth all-time in passing yards per completion, and 11th all-time in completion percentage. On October 5, 2008, he became the 11th player in 49ers history to have his number retired by the team.

"I love the faithful fans of San Francisco," Young said three years earlier during his speech in Canton. "I wanted to live up to your amazing expectations, you were the heart of it all. Thank you so very much, even for the boos that motivated me to work harder to gain your trust and confidence. No fans ever deserved it more. They were halcyon days never to be forgotten."

Young started his pro career with the Los Angeles Express of the now-defunct USFL before being drafted by the Buccaneers in a 1985 supplemental draft and then eventually landing in San Francisco. He currently serves as an analyst for ESPN.

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