Spillman represented special teams as game captain
The 49ers announced Tuesday they have signed restricted free agent C.J. Spillman to a three-year contract extension, keeping in place one of the key pieces that made their special teams units among the most effective and productive in the NFL last season.
He wasn’t a starter and rarely played on defense, but Spillman became a notable factor in the Niners’ successful turnaround in 2011 with his impact on San Francisco’s specialty units.
Spillman led the 49ers and ranked sixth in the NFL with 19 special teams tackles last season and also contributed four tackles during spot play at safety on defense. Scout.com NFL analyst Aaron Wilson, citing a league source, reports that Spillman signed a three-year contract with a maximum value of $6 million. He received a signing bonus of $925,000.
“C.J. is a high-energy, productive player with a strong team-first mentality who is still developing,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. “We are pleased to come to terms with C.J. for another three years, and look forward to his continued contributions to our organization, both on and off the field.”
The 6-foot, 199-pound Spillman has been an ace on special teams ever since the Niners claimed him off waivers from the San Diego Chargers in October of 2010. Despite playing only 11 games with the Niners that season, Spillman ranked second on the team with 21 tackles on special teams, establishing himself as a force on those units.
Spillman leads the 49ers with 40 special teams tackles since joining the team.
Roland Lakes dies at 73
Former 49ers defensive lineman Roland Lakes passed away on Monday at the age of 73.
Lakes, San Francisco's second-round draft pick in 1961, played for the 49ers from 1961 to 1970. He started five games at right end as a rookie and became a regular in the starting lineup at right tackle in 1963. He started 109 of the team's 112 games at the position from 1963-1970.
A Mississippi native, Smith played defensive tackle at Wichita State University before being drafted by the Niners. Until 2010, Lakes had been the 49ers youngest starting lineman in team history, as he was 21 years, 11 months and 24 days old when he suited up in 1961.
He went on to remain in San Francisco for 10 of his 11 NFL seasons. Lakes appeared in all 140 games while with the 49ers and is a member of the team’s 10-Year Club, a shrine representing longevity, success and consistency that honors members of the 49ers who served the franchise for at least a decade. Lakes played one season with the New York Giants before retiring in 1971.
Niners hire new executive
Kunal Malik, one of Silicon Valley’s leading technology experts, is joining the 49ers organization.
Malik will serve as the franchise’s Chief Technology Officer. He begins in this newly-developed position on May 1. As CTO, he’ll lead all technology efforts for the club as well as the new Santa Clara stadium.
"We have set very high goals for what we want the Santa Clara stadium to be in terms of innovation, technology and user experience," team president Gideon Yu said. "To achieve those goals, we need a leader with an incredibly unique skill set. In my opinion, there is nobody better qualified for this role, and I am excited to partner with Kunal again. Kunal has a unique ability and track record of integrating cutting edge technologies with an eye toward an excellent and simple customer experience.”
Over the past five years, Malik led the creation of the IT department at Facebook, a department he founded in 2007 and helped enable the growth for one of the world’s leading companies. He is credited for building the next generation IT organization and creating a technology culture that promoted innovation, fast execution and transparency with its customers. He built a strong IT leadership team and delivered an aggressive IT portfolio that exceeded the company’s growth needs.
Malik has over 15 years of technology experience in senior leadership roles and has managed and developed large organizations. He has a strong track record of delivering successful technology projects based on innovation and collaboration. Malik’s background includes an earlier stint with the Buffalo Police Department where he leveraged technology to improve the response times of police officers and the productivity of local law enforcement. Subsequently, Malik has excelled in senior technology management roles at Exodus Communications and Wind River Systems.
"I'm thrilled about joining the storied San Francisco 49ers, a franchise backed by a strong track record of achievements and success both on and off the field,” said Malik. “On a personal level, I feel honored to become a part of this absolutely amazing institution. The opportunity to define the next generation of technology for the new stadium will enable the 49ers organization to deliver a highly connected and interactive experience to fans and set a new standard for the National Football League."
The new stadium in Santa Clara is estimated to cost approximately $1.02 billion. Officials expect it to be a landmark for Silicon Valley in addition to its role as the new home to the 49ers. The 1.85 million square foot facility will seat approximately 68,500 and feature an expected 165 luxury suites and 9,000 club seats.