On a day Bryant Young was remembered for his football prowess, the former 49ers defensive tackle wanted to make sure his son, Colby, wasn’t forgotten.
Bryant Colby Young died of pediatric cancer at age 15 on Oct. 11, 2016.
Young dedicated his Pro Football Hall of Fame speech to his sixth child, choking back tears at time.
“From my pain, I found purpose,” Young said to end his 10-minute speech. “Letting someone grab my hand is as important is as important as reaching for theirs. In an isolated world, personal connections matter more than ever. I keep my gaze on Christ and pour myself into good works, including the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. I’ve learned to trust God’s plan and timing and not mine.
“In this, my 10th year of eligibility, I enter the Hall as a member of the Class of 2022. Twenty-two was Colby’s favorite number.”
Young played his entire 14-year NFL career with the 49ers. He was a key member of the 49ers’ fifth Super Bowl champion as a rookie after being selected with the seventh overall choice in 1994.
He made the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1990s and is the 49ers’ all-time sacks leader with 89.5.
Eight times his teammates voted him as winner of the 49ers’ top team honor, the Len Eshmont Award, for courageous and inspirational play. Nobody else in franchise history has won the award more than twice.
“During a November 1998 versus the Giants, my right leg was badly broken. There were complications,” Young said. “I could have lost my leg. I fought back and played another nine seasons. . . . I learned some things about trusting God, living with doubt and accepting help. We passed the test when another loomed.”
Young then talked about Colby, who, when he knew he was dying, wanted to know if he would be remembered.
“Colby, you live on our hearts,” Young said through tears. “We will always speak your name.”