San Francisco 'A Nice Fit' for Addison Trail Product Anelli
McDill, Kent, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Kent McDill Daily Herald Sports Writer
Mark Anelli had the strangest feeling he was going to get drafted by the San Francisco 49ers this spring.
OK, maybe it wasn't that strange. After all, the 49ers clearly had shown the most interest in the former Addison Trail High School standout who made a name for himself as a tight end at the University of Wisconsin.
But draft days being the emotional roller-coasters they are, Anelli was looking for a sign. He found one when he turned off the draft-day report on ESPN and began looking for a movie.
With two movie channels to choose from, Anelli had a decision.
"The movies were 'Mrs. Doubtfire' and 'The Rock,' " Anelli said. "Both movies take place in San Francisco. It was fate for me to end up there."
Not only fate, but fortune. Historically speaking, no team in the NFL makes better use of tight ends than the 49ers.
The list starts at Ted Kwalick in the early 1970s, Ken McAfee later in the decade, and then Charlie Young, Russ Francis and Brent Jones.
Rookie Eric Johnson was the 49ers' tight end last season, getting 40 catches and 3 touchdowns in 16 games. Justin Swift was re-signed to be Johnson's backup.
"They brought me in to compete with him (Swift)," Anelli said. "The 49ers are the originator of the West Coast offense, and they use the (tight end) position a lot. It's a nice fit."
Anelli was identified as a tight end at Addison Trail eight years ago, although he also was identified as a defensive end, a first baseman/outfielder in baseball, an all-around contributor on the basketball team, and an all-around good person to boot.
"He had the respect of every single teammate he had, from the best players to the second-string guys," said Paul Parpet, Anelli's football and baseball coach at Addison Trail. "He treated everybody the same way.
"Mark was probably not only one of our fiercest competitors, but he was one of our best practice players. Mark did everything the way it was supposed to be done almost all the time."
When Anelli began to consider his college choices, he wasn't sure whether to try for a baseball or a football scholarship. Some schools offered him a chance to play both, and Anelli considered himself a better baseball player than a football player.
"I'm surprised he didn't say basketball," Parpet said.
Anelli was receiving scholarship offers from Big Ten schools to play football, while Mid-American Conference schools were offering a chance to play both. …