The new leaders

They brought the 49ers success on the field and helped shape the identity of the franchise. But what several recently departed veterans also brought to the Niners was leadership, a quality that shouldn't be underestimated. They're gone now, but several new - and not so new - faces are ready to step in and fill the void. Here, SFI takes a quick look at the veteran team leaders the 49ers lost from last year, and the top candidates to step up and take their places this season.


DERRICK DEESE: Longest-tenured 49er was a true leader teammates looked up to on and off field.

JEFF GARCIA: Fiery QB grew into role in recent seasons and became team spokesman and offensive fireplug

GARRISON HEARST: Commanding presence in locker room had respect of every player on team

CHIDI AHANOTU: Veteran wasn't afraid to tell it like it is and quickly moved to forefront in only season with team

TERRELL OWENS: Some might consider it laughable his name's included here, but younger players - particularly the younger receivers - looked up to him

RON STONE: Massive lineman shunned spotlight, but he was an intimidator that nobody messed with

ZACK BRONSON: Safety was developing reputation for cool leadership before injuries derailed his career with team

SEAN MORAN: Role player was respected for his veteran experience and gritty special teams play


BRYANT YOUNG: Has been one of franchise's greatest leaders of the past two decades

JEREMY NEWBERRY: Tough guy knows how it's done and isn't shy in showing others the way

JULIAN PETERSON: Stepped up big-time in leadership role last year, but it's difficult to lead in absentia

SCOTT GRAGG: Accountable veteran has gradually become a commanding presence in locker room

DEREK SMITH: Productive veteran now moving to forefront among prominent team figures

TONY PARRISH: Rugged, dynamic safety has gained respect of all in just two years with team

AHMED PLUMMER: Not the rah-rah type, but smooth, cool presence provides quality texture to fabric of team

TIM RATTAY: Not a vocal or a forceful presence, but teammates believe in him and what he can do

ANDRE CARTER: Nice-guy personality has great work ethic and takes mean streak with him onto field

FRED BEASLEY: Doesn't say a word, because he doesn't have to

KEVAN BARLOW: Has developed newfound maturity and confidence after being handed fat contract and starting role at tailback

BRANDON LLOYD: Youngest player to be identified by teammates as top candidate to take on new leadership role

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