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Five-letter first name that begins with the letter “K,” born in Chicago, consummate professional.
Can you guess who I am speaking of?
If you said to yourself Kanye, please leave. I am obviously speaking of longtime member of the San Francisco 49ers family, Keena Turner. And on May 2, 2019 Turner was enshrined into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. In honor of this 49er great, let’s take a look back at his career.
Turner was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. And he actually didn’t start playing organized football until high school. According to a story he relayed to KRON 4, he tried out for the team based on a bet to prove he was tough enough. That bet paid dividends because not only did it prove his toughness, he earned a scholarship to Purdue University. Maybe the classmate who made the bet with Turner should be brought in the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame as well for kickstarting his career. That counts for something right?
At Purdue, Turner excelled at the linebacker position and was selected by the 49ers in the second round (39th overall) of the 1980 NFL draft. He spent all his 11 seasons (1980-1990) playing with the 49ers. During that time, he won four Super Bowls and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1984. He recorded 11 interceptions, 19.5 sacks, eight fumble recoveries, and one touchdown in 153 career games (118 starts).
After retirement, he joined the staff of his former head coach Bill Walsh at Stanford University. He spent three seasons there as the linebackers coach, from 1992-1994. But his heart never left the 49ers. He would return to the organization in 1995 first in a broadcasting role. He would then make the jump to the front office in 1998. He remains with the organization to this day currently serving as Vice President and Senior Advisor to the General Manager.
After over three decades with the organization Turner remains a 49er, and an amazing representative at that! And after seeing a number of his teammates such as Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, and Brent Jones be enshrined into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, it’s now his turn! We at the 49ersHub wish to congratulate Keena Turner on his enshrinement and for being an all-time 49er great!
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