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MailTribune.com
  • Running back Paul Hofer wore No. 36 from 1976-81

  • I received as a gift in the early 1980s an official 49ers NFL football jersey, No. 36. Who wore this number, and where is he now?
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  • I received as a gift in the early 1980s an official 49ers NFL football jersey, No. 36. Who wore this number, and where is he now?
    — Leslie L., via email
    Judging by how long you've held on to this jersey, Leslie, it sounds like you're a longtime 49ers fan.
    So while you're probably still a bit disappointed that your team didn't get its sixth Super Bowl win last weekend, at least we have an answer to your question about the No. 36 jersey, which probably belonged to Paul Hofer.
    Hofer was drafted by the 49ers in the 11th round of the 1976 NFL draft at the age of 24, according to the official NFL website.
    Hofer stayed with the team for six years as a running back, until a knee injury in October 1980. Though he returned to play in 1981 — the first year the team won the Super Bowl — the injury had worsened and Hofer wasn't on the field during the big game.
    It was also the last year he played any professional football.
    Years later, Hofer sued the team and the team physician because of the injury, and the lawsuit was settled out of court.
    A 2007 article in the San Francisco Chronicle said Hofer, now 60, was back living in Memphis, Tenn., where he grew up.
    Before Hofer, no 49ers had worn No. 36 since Tommy Davis, a kicker and punter on the team from 1959 to 1969.
    After Hofer, no 49ers players wore No. 36 until 1986, when cornerback Darryl Pollard joined the team, sticking around until 1992, when he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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