Jim Stuckey is the 49er defensive end who recovered the Danny White fumble at the end of the 1981 NFC Championship game to seal the victory over Dallas. He’d been drafted in 1980, and stayed with the 49ers through 1985, but retired, temporarily, after not getting enough playing time. But, he made a comeback in ’86, explaining: ”I had lost a lot of confidence. I didn’t want to play anymore. Then in May, I decided to play again. I had always gone to football practice in the springtime, and I got the fever again. I wanted to see whether I could do it again.”
The 49ers resigned him, then cut him in October, and he went over to the Jets. That December, before a game with the Niners, Stuckey said: “That was a disappointment, that they cut me after activating me. I want to go back there and show them I can play, not out of animosity, but just show them.” Stuckey compared the Jet and 49er defenses like this: ”In San Francisco, it was more of a reading-type defense. I’m still thinking too much here.”
Stuckey’s last NFL year was 1986. He’s now a real estate executive in South Carolina, his home state, where he works at the Kiawah Island resort.