John Ayers was a guard with the 49ers from 1976, when he was an eight-round pick out of West Texas State, through 1986. He signed with the Broncos on July 27, 1987, and played that season with Denver, with whom he got into the Super Bowl one last time before retiring. He was the president of the Universal Wrestling Federation for a little while. He died of liver cancer in 1995 in Texas. Ayers’ daughter, Jolee, played basketball at Texas Tech.
Upon his death, Bobb McKittrick said: “From the technical football part, he was an outstanding pass protector. We felt he won his great battles with Randy White (the Dallas lineman who was one of the top in the NFL during Ayers’ career). He also did a great job against Lawrence Taylor.
“More important than that was the kind of person he was. He was unselfish, a consummate team player . . . He was liked as much by the squad as anyone we’ve ever had.”