Thursday, October 17, 2013
London calling for Bethel-Thompson again
By Bill Williamson
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- McLeod Bethel-Thompson is on the cusp of making history. It's fitting it will happen in Wembley Stadium, where his family has golden history.
Bethel-Thompson was a backup quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings when they played Pittsburgh in London on Sept. 29. Barring a roster move in the coming days, he will head back to London to become the first player to be on a roster in England twice in the same season.
The 49ers, who claimed the San Francisco native off waivers from Minnesota last week, play Jacksonville at Wembley on Oct. 27.
Bethel-Thompson will be a story for the English media again. Last month, he was popular there because his maternal grandfather, Wilbur "Moose" Thompson won the gold medal in the 1948 Olympics in the shot put at Wembley Stadium.
"I got some interviews for sure," Bethel-Thompson said of his September visit to Wembley. "They love their Olympics over there."
His grandfather is 93 and living in Southern California. He will not attend the game, nor did he when Bethel-Thompson was wearing purple. He does have a cousin teaching in Austria and she went to the Vikings-Steelers game.
"She's hit me up for tickets again," he said with a laugh.
Bethel-Thompson realized he'll be heading back to London shortly after he was claimed by the 49ers on Oct. 9.
"It was cool to be a part of that, the whole process of being in the same stadium as my grandfather," Bethel-Thompson said. "The second thing, it was just a very cool environment. Talk about 98,000 people and they're good fans."
"It's a very different vibe than American stadiums. They're very into it, with flags all over the place. It's a very cool place to play."
The 49ers are staying and practicing at the same place the Vikings did. Bethel-Thompson will be somewhat of a tour guide for his teammates who didn't play in England three years ago, when the 49ers beat Denver at Wembley in the final year of the Mike Singletary era.
"Obviously it'll be interesting to go back and it's kind of unique, but it's not really my focus," Bethel-Thompson said. "My focus is ball."