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Knapp says returning to San Francisco is still special. No wonder. He owes his career to the 49ers, specifically to Joe Montana and a former offensive coordinator named Mike Shanahan.
In 1992, Montana was entering what would be his final training camp with San Francisco with an aching elbow. Shanahan didn't want his superstar doing much more than the minimum in camp.
He knew of a former quarterback he had in camps in 1988 and '89, while Shanahan was coach of the Los Angeles Raiders. The guy had become an anonymous assistant coach at Sacramento State.
"I got invited about a week prior to training camp opening to go to Rocklin, Calif., and be a camp arm, to offset the throws that Joe didn't have," Knapp said. "And I ended up doing it for three years."
Asked how much Montana appreciated him, Knapp laughed and said, "very much so. Actually, I took great pride that I had my picture in USA Today alongside Joe."
Mora still has the handwritten notes he kept from the advice Walsh, who returned to the 49ers as an executive in the late '90s, gave him. Mora would invite the Hall of Fame coach into his position meetings and took Walsh up on daily invitations to come to his office to chat.
"He was always right on," Mora said of Walsh. "Here's this guy that's working for the organization, that's in the building, was already in the Hall of Fame, and he was willing to sit in my meetings and evaluate what I'm saying, or he's invited me into his office every day to ask him questions?
"I'd be a fool not to take advantage of that."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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