Bryant Young

Class of 2022

Career Sacks




Pro Bowls




"Life is an amazing journey, and the hard things touch us and grow us in ways that we don't want but are sometimes needed."

The 49ers selected Bryant with the seventh overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft.

Enshrinement Speech

The 49ers selected Bryant with the seventh overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft.

Career Highlights

Joining the San Francisco 49ers after an accomplished collegiate career at the University of Notre Dame, Bryant Young was expected to anchor the interior of the team’s defensive line.

He met that challenge and also anchored the locker room with a presence that was reflected in the numerous team-issued awards he piled up over his 14 NFL seasons.

The 49ers selected Bryant with the seventh overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft. His impact was immediate: six sacks in 16 starts and a spot on the NFL All-Rookie Team.

By 1996, he had blossomed into a dominant force at defensive tackle, turning in his best season statistically: 84 tackles, four passes defensed, two safeties and 11.5 sacks, a figure that led the team and shared the NFL lead for all defensive tackles. As a result, he earned first-team All-Pro honors and the first of his four Pro Bowl nods.

He also received the team’s Len Eshmont Award, given annually since 1957 for “inspirational and courageous play.” Considered the 49ers’ most prestigious honor, Bryant won the award eight times (1996, 1998-2000 and 2004-07). No other member of the 49ers has won it more than twice.

In 1998, Bryant was well on his way to another magnificent season. In 12 games, he had registered 9.5 sacks – best in the NFL among defensive tackles – along with eight tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. But a devastating leg injury ended his season – and threatened his career.

Bryant rebounded in stunning fashion, however, and returned to action by the 1999 season opener. He recorded 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss on his way to winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award from both the AP and PFWA. He also was named the 49ers’ winner of the league-wide Ed Block Courage Award and won the team’s Matt Hazeltine Award for inspirational play.

For his career, Bryant totaled 89.5 sacks and three safeties. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

Year Team G No.
1994 San Francisco   16 6.0
1995 San Francisco   12 6.0
1996 San Francisco   16 11.5
1997 San Francisco   12 4.0
1998 San Francisco   12 9.5
1999 San Francisco   16 11.0
2000 San Francisco   15 9.5
2001 San Francisco   16 3.5
2002 San Francisco   16 2.0
2003 San Francisco   16 3.5
2004 San Francisco   16 3.0
2005 San Francisco   13 8.0
2006 San Francisco   16 5.5
2007 San Francisco   16 6.5
Career Total 208 89.5
Additional Career Statistics: Safeties: 3
Championship Games

1994 NFC – San Francisco 49ers 38, Dallas Cowboys 28
Young started at left defensive tackle. He had three tackles and one pass defensed.

1997 NFC – Green Bay Packers 23, San Francisco 49ers 10
Young started at left defensive tackle. He had three tackles.

Super Bowls

Super Bowl XXIX – San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26
Young started at left defensive tackle. He had three tackles, two assists and one pass defensed.

All-League Teams
All-Pro: 1996 (AP, PFWA, SN)  ·  1998 (SN)          

All-Pro Second Team: 1998 (AP)  ·  1999 (AP)   ·  2001 (AP)

All-NFC: 1996 (UPI, PW)  ·    2001 (PW)

Pro Bowls

(4) – 1997, 2000*, 2002, 2003

*Did not play

In the NFL Record Book (at time of his retirement following 2007 season)
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Safeties, Season – 2 (1996)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Safeties, Career – 3
Team Records

49ers records held by Young
(Records through the 2007 season, Bryant’s final season with San Francisco)

  • [1st] Most Safeties, Season – 2 (1996)
  • [Tied for 2nd] Most Safeties, Career – 3
  • [3rd] Most Sacks, Career – 89.5 (1996)
  • [Tied for 3rd] Most Games – 208
Awards and Honors
  • NFL All-Decade Team of 1990s
  • 1994 All-Rookie Team
  • 1996 NFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 6)
  • 1996 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
  • 1998 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
  • 1999 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
  • 1999 NFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 14)
  • 1999 NFL Comeback Player of the Year (AP/PFWA)
  • 1999 Ed Block Courage Award
  • 2000 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
  • 2004 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
  • 2004 49ers Team MVP
  • 2005 NFC Defensive Player of the Week (Week 1)
  • 2005 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
  • 2006 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
  • 2007 Len Eshmont Award Winner (inspiration and courageous play)
Year-by-Year Team Records
1994     San Francisco 49ers......... 13-3-0   (1st)
1995     San Francisco 49ers......... 11-5-0   (1st)
1996     San Francisco 49ers......... 12-4-0   (2nd)
1997     San Francisco 49ers......... 13-3-0   (1st)
1998     San Francisco 49ers......... 12-4-0   (2nd)
1999     San Francisco 49ers........... 4-12-0   (4th)
2000     San Francisco 49ers........... 6-10-0   (4th)
2001     San Francisco 49ers......... 12-4-0   (2nd)
2002     San Francisco 49ers......... 10-6-0   (1st)
2003     San Francisco 49ers............ 7-9-0   (3rd)
2004     San Francisco 49ers........... 2-14-0   (4th)
2005     San Francisco 49ers........... 4-12-0   (4th)
2006     San Francisco 49ers............ 7-9-0   (3rd)
2007     San Francisco 49ers........... 5-11-0   (3rd)

(Division Finish in Parentheses)
Qualified for Postseason in Bold
League/Team Statistical Titles

Team Statistical Championships
Sack Leader: 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007
Full Name: Bryant Colby Young
Birthdate: January 27, 1972
Birthplace: Chicago Heights, Illinois
High School: Bloom (Chicago Heights, IL)
Pro Career: 14 seasons, 208 games
Drafted: 1st round (7th player overall) in 1994 by San Francisco
BRYANT YOUNG: Mr. D and Kai, thank you for serving as my presenters. I'm grateful to the Hall voters and humble to join the 2022 class and 29 former 49ers who proceeded me. I probably wore gold throughout my career. I will cherish this jacket for the rest of my life.

Today for me is about faith, football and family. My wife, Kristin, and I met at Notre Dame. We’ve been together 31 years.


What a journey. Six kids, careers, injuries, life-altering losses. Kristin, my partner in all things, co-heir in Christ, you embody much of what this jacket and this day represents: Sacrifice, selflessness, integrity. I love you so much.


Five of our children are here. They're tight knit. You should see our family's text thread, which we call Fam Bam. Kids, I admire your courage, determination, maturity and resilience. You inspire me to be the best version of myself. I'm proud to be your dad. I love you.

My father, Tommy, is here with his wife, Charlotte. He served the Army, Peace Corps, his church and 38 years for Ford Motor Company. Dad, thanks for sharing your wisdom, planting the spiritual seed, living humbly and showing me the meaning of hard work. I love you.

To my older brothers, my biggest cheerleaders: I'm proud of our bond and your bravery. Tim, your recovery from cancer; Carlos, your service in Operation Desert Storm. I love you both.

Our mother, Alice, passed away in 2020. She had an innate sweetness, warm smile and her own unspoken love language: Cooking for family, friends and successfully overcoming personal challenges. Mom, I think of you often, and I hope you are smiling today. I love you.


Our extended family and friends have been a constant comforting presence in my life. I wish time permitted me to name you all. My love for you runs deep. Thank you.

I deeply respect our game and want to thank some of the many who supported me along the way. Although I thought I would make a fine fullback, my high school coaches at Bloom in Chicago Heights put me where I belong: in the trenches.

At Notre Dame, Lou Holtz preached trust, care and commitment; team over individual; we over me. Aaron Taylor, my college teammate, became much more. My best man, brother for life.

I was fortunate to be drafted by and play for the 49ers, a championship organization led by competitive, compassionate owners.

Mr. D, Candy, John, Denise, Jed: Thank you for all the love, kindness and generosity you have shown. I was fortunate to work with strong coaches. George Seifert challenged me to elevate my play. So did Steve Mariucci, who kept us focused during playoff seasons and the rebuild.

Position coaches Dwaine Board and Dan Quinn were honest, fair and supported me in good times and bad. There isn't time today to properly honor teammates, some sitting here feet away. All I say for now is I never, ever wanted to let you down. Thank you.


To my opponents: utmost respect. It meant a lot to learn that several offensive linemen I faced over the years spoke up for my candidacy. Thank you so much.

Finally, the 49er faithful: Let's win another Super Bowl.

Football also brought adversity. During a November 1998 game, as you just saw, versus the Giants, my right leg was badly broken. There were complications. I could have lost my leg. I fought back, playing another nine seasons.

But while dealing with the injury, Kristin was pregnant with Kai. Few knew it at the time. Rather than being cared for, Kristin was caring for me. My vulnerability and loss of control were disorienting. I learned some things about trusting God, living with doubt and accepting help.

We passed the test, but another loomed. I've introduced five of our children. Now I'd like to let you meet Colby. Born in August 2001, Colby loved life. He had an infectious smile, many interests, including football. He was a happy kid.

In fall of 2014, when he was 13, Colby started having headaches. A CAT scan revealed a brain tumor. Kai had just had knee surgery and deserved our full attention, but our focus and hers shifted to Colby.

Five days later, surgeons removed the tumor and told us it was cancer. Colby was back at school eight days later. His spirits were good. He had the heart of a lion. My injury seemed trivial.

Knowing radiation would weaken him, doctors told Colby to give up football. It absolutely broke his heart. He turned the page and focused on basketball. The treatments were hard. Colby showed immense courage. He felt good for months. We really were hopeful.

The following October Colby said, “Dad, I have a headache.” The cancer was back. Doctors tried immunotherapy, but it had spread too far, too fast. Colby sensed where things were heading and had questions. He didn't fear death as much as the process of dying. Would it be painful? Would he be remembered?

We assured Colby we would keep his memory alive and continue speaking his name. On October 11, 2016, God called Colby home. Colby, you live on in our hearts. We will always speak your name.


Noted writer and author (Arthur) Brooks compares us to a grove of aspen trees with a single root system. That's you, too, Brooks writes. You're not a tree. You're part of a vast root system, and you need to cultivate your system, not just look out for your tree.

I stand here thanks to my root system: My wife, family and friends, teammates, my football brothers, the University of Notre Dame, the 49ers, coaches who saw potential and honed it, doctors, trainers, spiritual mentors and our church and school community.

And above all, a gracious God. I'll close with some lessons I've learned along the way. From my pain I found purpose. Letting someone grab my hand is as important as reaching for theirs. In an isolated world, personal connections matter more than ever.

I keep my gaze on Christ and pour myself into good works, including the PDX Brain Tumor Foundation. I've learned to trust God's plan and timing, not mine.

And this, my 10th year of eligibility, I entered the Hall as a member of [the class of] 2022 … 22. It was Colby's favorite number.

Thank you.