Dilfer was seeking permission to wear Brodie's No. 12, which was retired by the 49ers in 1973. Brodie, whose daughter is married to former NFL quarterback Chris Chandler, quickly warmed to the idea.
Dilfer the backup to starting quarterback Alex Smith wore a No. 10 jersey during the 49ers' opening training-camp practice Friday morning. But after the practice, with a smiling 70-year-old Brodie at his side, Dilfer said he would wear No. 12 the rest of the season.
"It's probably the biggest honor of my career," Dilfer said.
Coach Mike Nolan said he approves of Dilfer's tribute to Brodie.
"I like what it all stands for and the relationship they have," Nolan said. "It's a good thing. It's a mutual respect between two people. One is old school. One is new school."
Since suffering a stroke nearly six years ago, Brodie has had difficulty talking, but the smile on his face spoke of his elation. Brodie played for the 49ers from 1957-73 and threw for more than 31,000 yards.
"I really believe John should be in the Hall of Fame," said Dilfer, adding he plans to advocate for his friend. "Hopefully this will create some awareness of his career and how spectacular it was."
LOOKING GOOD: Dilfer, who is coming off surgery on his right knee, showed some mobility Friday morning, running with the ball after being forced from the pocket.
"Not bad for a one-legged guy," he said. "I'll never make a living doing that, but I've always been able to do it when I've needed to."
DEPTH CHART: Nolan said center Jeremy Newberry, who is returning from knee surgery, will practice for the time being with the second unit. Eric Heitmann played Friday with the first unit.
"If he's healthy and shows he can go the distance, his status will improve," Nolan said of Newberry.
On defense, Mike Rumph is among players getting reserve-unit work at cornerback. Rumph was the 49ers' first-round pick in 2002. The current starters at cornerback are Shawntae Spencer and free-agent addition Walt Harris.
EXTRA POINTS: The 49ers are enjoying the rare distinction of opening training camp with no players on the physically-unable-to-perform list. But receiver Derrick Hamilton (hamstring) and tight end Onye Ibekwe (ribs) were injured during the afternoon practice. ... Veterans Bryant Young, Harris and Dilfer were given the afternoon off and will be rested in the afternoons on all days when the 49ers practice twice, Nolan said. Additionally, center Jeremy Newberry and receiver Arnaz Battle, both coming off knee injuries, were excused in the afternoon. ... A team spokesman said kicker Luis Berlanga, who is from Mexico, probably will not arrive until at least Monday while he gets his working papers in order.