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What If Brandon Lloyd Had Stayed With San Francisco?

Daniel ShanksAnalyst IJune 16, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 01: Brandon Lloyd #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Houston Texans on January 1, 2006 at Monster Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Earlier today, Brandon Lloyd signed a contract with the Denver Broncos, giving Kyle Orton and Co. an insurance policy in case Brandon Marshall gets out of the Mile High City.

Seeing Lloyd's name got me thinking about the years he was in San Francisco.

He showed so much promise in 2004 and 2005. In that two-year span, he caught 91 balls for 1,298 yards and 11 touchdowns.

What really wowed me about Lloyd was his ability to make the circus catch. I remember being back in California visiting family in 2004. My dad and I were at Callahan's, a sports bar in San Diego (I highly recommend it if you're in the neighborhood).

Anyway, the 49ers were playing and driving down the field. Lloyd went up to get a pass that was behind him, hauled the ball in, and got both toes in bounds.

I saw that play and thought, "This guy could be the next Cris Carter." During a time that the 49ers were starved for wide receivers, it looked like Lloyd might provide some relief.

Unfortunately, he showed off that diva-like attitude that so many receivers are famous for and was shipped off to Washington, where he failed to achieve the level he had reached in San Fran.

I thought the kid was washed up until I happened upon a Chicago Bears' game last year. There was Lloyd, making highlight-reel catches again.

In a 27-24 loss to Tampa Bay, Lloyd caught six passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. He only started five game for the Bears last year, but he seemed to have regained some of his old form.

People say that sometimes players need a change of scenery. I wonder if that was the last thing Lloyd needed.

Think about it. His best season came in 2005, but the 49ers' best offensive season of the last five years came in 2006, when Norv Turner was the offensive coordinator.

It seemed that Alex Smith and Lloyd had built quite a rapport during Smith's rookie season. That, coupled with Turner's brilliant offensive mind, could have very well translated to a 1,000-yard season for Lloyd.

Sadly, 49er fans will never know what could've been. Hopefully Lloyd will prosper in Denver.

And if we're lucky, maybe Lloyd will realize his full potential in Denver and make his way back to the City by the Bay.

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