Vance McDonald reminds Jim Harbaugh of Mike Ditka

According to, rookie tight end Vance McDonald reminds 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh of former Bears great Mike Ditka.  This is exactly why he wanted him to wear the number 89, since that’s the same number that Ditka wore when he played

Tight end Vance McDonald, a second-round draft pick from Rice, learned a great deal about the 49ers’ offense as he worked behind starter Vernon Davis. But he also gained some knowledge behind coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to assign him No. 89.


Harbaugh made a comparison between McDonald and Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, who wore No. 89 during his career. Ditka’s 12-year NFL career ended in 1972, 18 years before McDonald was born.


Initially, McDonald seemed to believe Ditka played for the 49ers. As a player, Ditka enjoyed his best seasons with the Chicago Bears before finishing his career with the Dallas Cowboys. Ditka later became head coach of the Chicago Bears, and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh played for him.

I’m sure the Bears would love McDonald’s career to mirror Ditka’s.  The good news is that he doesn’t have a lot of pressure to perform right away since he’s behind Vernon Davis on the 49ers depth chart.

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