The only projected starter the 49ers added during free agency is a player who will be missed by his former team.
At the NFL owners meetings, CSNBayArea.com asked Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano what the 49ers would be getting with the addition of safety Antoine Bethea. With Donte Whitner gone to the Cleveland Browns, Bethea is being relied upon to replace him in the starting lineup.
Pagano answered, “Great leader. Great player. Passionate guy. Loves the game of football. He’ll be a great teammate. Great in the locker room. You’re getting an all-star.”
The 49ers are getting a lot more than a football player with Bethea, too. He was named the winner of Colts Man of the Year Award last season. He started his Safe Coverage Foundation to provide assistance for inner-city high school kids to achieve higher education. Bethea distributed 15 tickets and meal vouchers for every Colts game for underprivileged youth in Indiana as a part of the team’s Community Ticket Block program. He hosted two free football camps for youth each year. He was also active as a spokesman for United Way’s Team NFL initiative.
“Any time you lose a guy who’s been with the organization for eight years and done the things he’s done inside the building, in the community, on the football field, certainly you’re going to miss him,” Pagano said.