Maui Sports

Niners’ Ulbrich retires; Miami’s Bess emerges

December 15, 2009, 11:30 AM HST
* Updated December 17, 12:49 PM
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By Fred Guzman
MauiNow.com

For Jeff Ulbrich, the former University of Hawaii linebacker, one door closed as another appears on the verge of opening.

Ulbrich announced his retirement from football last week after 10 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

He had been contemplating that decision since suffering a severe concussion during an October 11 game against Atlanta, and was placed on season-ending injured reserve eight days later.

The 32-year-old Ulbrich next plans to pursue a career in coaching, and there are indications that he could end up landing a job with the Niners as early as next season.

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Ulbrich played in 121 games for the 49ers, making 75 starts, after being a third-round pick in the 2000 draft. He is one of only 47 players in club history to play 10 years or more for the 49ers.

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Another ex-UH player is making a major mark with his NFL team. That’s second-year slotback Devone Bess, who has gone from undrafted rookie last season to Miami’s most productive receiver this year despite starting just one game during the entire campaign.

Bess has a team-leading 62 catches for 570 yards, with 40 of his receptions going for first downs and nearly half of his catches coming on key third-down situations.

Two weeks ago, in a stunning 22-21 upset of New England, Bess had the best game of his career with 10 catches for 119 yards.

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