The Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed its class of 2022 during the NFL Honors on Thursday night, with former 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young rightfully and deservingly adding his name among NFL greats.
Young adds to Tony Boselli, Cliff Branch, LeRoy Butler, Art McNally, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour and Dick Vermeil in this year’s class.
San Francisco selected Young out of Notre Dame in the first round (seventh-overall) of the 1994 NFL Draft. He started all 16 games his rookie season, recording 49 tackles and six sacks, and aided a defense that surged San Francisco to its fifth Super Bowl title. In the team’s decisive victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, Young posted three tackles.
The defensive lineman spent all 14 of his NFL seasons (1994 to 2007) with San Francisco. He started 208 games during his tenure with the 49ers, the most by any defensive lineman in franchise history. In just his third season, he received league-wide recognition, being named First-Team All-Pro after posting 11.5 sacks. He went on to be named among the league’s elite four times throughout his career (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001).
In 1998, Young suffered a devastating, career-threatening knee injury where he sustained breaks to his tibia and fibula in a game against the New York Giants. Despite a grim outlook to his NFL future, Young fully returned for the 1999 season and recorded over 70 tackles, 11 sacks and a safety, earning his second of an eventual four Pro Bowl appearances and NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Young retired in 2007 as the 49ers all-time sack leader with 89.5. He also totaled 774 tackles and six fumble recoveries. He also started 11 postseason contests where he totaled 37 additional tackles and three sacks.
This year marked Young’s second time as a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Young was a first-time finalist for the Class of 2020 and re-appeared this year. The former defensive lineman was also named into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame in 2020.