San Francisco 49ers: 10 most underrated players in franchise history

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Gene Washington

Wide Receiver, 49ers Tenure: 1969-1977

Perhaps only the older generations of 49ers fans can recall just how good wide receiver Gene Washington.

Believe it or not, the Niners were close to establishing something of a dynasty in the early 1970s — a time where Washington was already cemented as a top performer. He broke into the league in 1969 and immediately earned both Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro selections. But a year later, Washington cemented a legacy for himself, leading the NFL with an amazing 1,100 receiving yards at a time when 1,000-yard receivers were almost nonexistent.

Washington would go on to the Pro Bowl a total of four times, including another first-team All-Pro selection in 1972.

Sadly, the Niners franchise began to fall apart after that season, and Washington’s overall numbers took a hit. While still a major factor in San Francisco’s offense those years up to 1977, the overall problems the team was experiencing kept Washington from earning his rightful place in franchise lore.

Not on this list, though.

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