Football. Fans love big hits, touchdown dances and concession stands. Coaches love solid execution, continuity and wins. As for the players, it’s the connection between them and fans.
Former Alabama standout Quinton Dial is in the midst of a difficult situation.
Dial, defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, lost his friend and long time 49ers fan Alex Fernandez to brain cancer on July 10. To sit in the stands at Levi’s Stadium was the lone thing Fernandez wanted to do, and on Sept. 14, the 20-year-old will be on the minds of Dial and the 49ers in its Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings to open 2015.
According to Mark Inabinett, writer for Tuscaloosa News, Dial and his teammates visited Fernandez in June with gifts. The gifts included blankets, jerseys from quarterback Colin Kaepernick and linebacker Patrick Willis, an autographed football, caps and a poster.
Not to be outdone, Dial signed a jersey and included a video message for Fernandez.
QD’s Kids Foundation is Dial’s organization. Its mission is to show love and support to underprivileged kids so they will have the be best opportunity to be our leaders of tomorrow.
Dial’s jersey number, No. 92, was on display at Fernandez’s memorial services.
It was on a picture of a tractor-trailer that drawn by Fernandez’s father. The statement “Pay it forward” was on the side, along with the 49ers logo on the back.
Dial saw action in only three games as a rookie in 2013, due to injuries. Injuries to Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams forced Dial to step up last season. He recorded a huge sack of Drew Brees in San Francisco’s win over New Orleans. Dial ended up starting in six games.