Canadians who’ve played for the SF 49ers over the years
The SF 49ers and Cowboys game featured a historic moment in Canadian football history, which brought us to look at Canadians who’ve donned the red and gold.
The Dallas Cowboys-SF 49ers rivalry is always one to feature records, intense games, and crazy fan support. Week 15’s afternoon affair was no different, but this time it featured a proud moment for any Canadian fan and player.
Cowboys long snapper L.P. Ladouceur played in his 251st NFL game, which is officially a Canadian-born record.
Ladouceur is from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and has spent his whole career in Dallas. It’s a pretty impressive milestone for anyone to play over 250 games, but for someone with a passport north of the border it’s even greater.
He even received praise from the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau:
There have been 114 Canadian-born players to play in the NFL.
We’re starting to see the talent coming from the great white north with the likes of Ladouceur, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool, Cowboys defensive lineman Neville Gallimore, and Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff, who’s the co-winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy for Canada’s athlete of the year.
This got my ice-cold-maple-syrup blood flowing and started to think about Canadian-born players who’ve played for the SF 49ers.
Ryan Thelwell: London, Ontario
We’ll start with a man who was drafted by the SF 49ers, but never actually played.
Thelwell was taken late in the 1998 NFL Draft. He got cut after camp and signed with the San Diego Chargers. He played a handle of games for the Chargers but ended up heading to the CFL.
He was drafted by the B.C. Lions in the CFL Draft and went on to win three Grey Cups, two with the Lions and one with the Calgary Stampeders.
On a personal note, I’ve had the chance to meet Thelwell during his time in Calgary. He’s a great receiver and also an extremely humble man.
I went to a football camp run by Henry Burris, who’s on the Chicago Bears coaching staff as their Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellow. Thelwell was one of the guest coaches. He took the time to talk to everyone and sign autographs.
With all the injuries and COVID-19 cases the SF 49ers were dealt with, it’s a shame they didn’t reach out to Thelwell!
Gordy Ceresino: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Ceresino played only one season with the SF 49ers and in the NFL. He started in three games in 1979. His father, Ray, played for the Toronto Maple Leafs while his daughter was a former soccer player at the University of Colorado.
Allan Kennedy: Vancouver, British Columbia
Kennedy was originally drafted by Washington in the 10th round of the 1981 NFL Draft as an offensive tackle. He was cut by Washington and signed with the SF 49ers in the same year
Kennedy missed the 1982 season, but he came back in 1983 and 1984 and missed only one game. He was also part of the SF 49ers’ Super Bowl wins in 1981 and 1984.
Oh, the good ol’ days.
Klaus Wilmsmeyer: Mississauga, Ontario
Wilmsmeyer might be a name many SF 49ers remember from the 1990s. The Ontario native was the punter for the Niners from 1992 through 1994, which included a Super Bowl ring.
He was named to the All-Rookie team in 1992. After the Super Bowl, he headed to New Orleans and then finished his career in Miami.
Dakoda Shepley: Windsor, Ontario
He hasn’t played a down yet, but the SF 49ers signed the former Saskatchewan Roughriders star in October.
With the lack of production from the current offensive line, it wouldn’t hurt the SF 49ers to see what they have in Shepley. He was a star in his one season in the CFL, as he was named the Roughriders 2019 Rookie of the Year.
In a feature by Claire Hanna of CTV News Regina, Shepley mentioned he and fellow offensive lineman Ben Garland have become friends.
Canadians are proving they’re more than just hockey players. In the 2021 NFL Draft, there are a few players with Canadian passports the SF 49ers should keep their eye’s on, including a stud running back from Oklahoma State University.
Congratulations to Dallas Cowboys’ long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur. Many Canadian SF 49ers fans wish your milestone didn’t come at the cost of a loss, but we’re willing to set the rivalry aside and raise a cold La Fin du Monde (Quebec-based drink) to you.