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Fernandez Goes Home to Bay Area and 49ers

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

The other shoe dropped Saturday.

Mervyn Fernandez’s shoe.

One day after acquiring free-agent receiver James Lofton from the Buffalo Bills, the Raiders announced they had traded Fernandez to the San Francisco 49ers for an undisclosed 1994 draft choice.

Fernandez, who had nearly dropped out of sight on the Raider depth chart, was thrilled to be back in the Bay Area--so thrilled that he was in uniform Saturday for an off-season 49er camp.

Fernandez, 33, who will make $800,000 this season on the final year of his contract, said he hopes to negotiate a new deal with San Francisco.

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“Last season, I really didn’t get to play much,” he said. “I wasn’t really in the picture.”

Fernandez said he asked for and received permission from the Raiders to find a new football home.

“This was the one that unfolded,” he said, “and this is the one I wanted because this is home for me.”

Fernandez was born in Merced and attended Andrew Hill High in San Jose, San Jose City College and San Jose State before beginning his pro career with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League.

After five sometimes brilliant seasons in the CFL, Fernandez joined the Raiders in 1987.

His best season in the NFL was 1989, when he caught 57 passes for 1,069 yards and nine touchdowns.

But his days with the Raiders came to a fast end last season.

It came in the third game. He had started the first two. Then, according to his agent, Robert LaMonte, as Fernandez trotted onto the field at the beginning of the home opener, he was informed he had lost his job to Tim Brown.

Fernandez finished the season with nine catches for 121 yards and no touchdowns.

The 6-foot-3 Fernandez had his biggest year as a Raider after the team failed to keep another tall receiver after the 1988 season . . . James Lofton.

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