Rock Cartwright received a warm welcome – albeit an unexpected one – to the Tony Montana squad last week at Candlestick Park.
As kicker Giorgio Tavecchio teed up the ball for the opening kick-off, the Future song, “Tony Montana” blared over the loud speaker as the coverage unit started swaying and dancing side-to-side. Cartwright had seen the trademark warmup routine on TV last season, but joining the fun was an entirely different experience.
“I think it gets the opposing team frightened a little bit,” Cartwright said. “I didn’t know they were going to play (the song) in the preseason, but they did. They got me kind of amped up, too. I think it’s a good fit.”
Special teams is Cartwright’s calling card, but he showed another side of himself during last week’s preseason victory against the Vikings. The 11-year vet carried the ball eight times for 44 yards and picked up three first downs, with one come coming on a 19-yard run around the left end.
When the 49ers signed Cartwright to a one-year deal this offseason, luring him from the Oakland Raiders across the Bay, they knew they were getting a football player, not just a special-teamer.
“All-around, his game is real solid,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Running the ball, catching it out of the backfield, blocking, special teams. He does it all well.”
And it’s not just what Cartwright does, it’s how he does it.
“Above and beyond, he’s a very talented professional,” Harbaugh said. “He does everything right; a great role model for all of us. Real tough, tough as nails. Great respect for Rock.”
Cartwright’s signing may not have garnered the same fanfare as the additions of other free agents like Randy Moss, Brandon Jacobs or Mario Manningham, but his role on the team is just as valuable. His humble and selfless attitude is always on display, as evidenced by his varied roles within the team.
“I love the game of football,” Cartwright said. “I know special teams is what I do. Any way I can help the team win – special teams, running back, whatever they need me to do – I’m here to do. Hopefully, I get the opportunity to make the team and hopefully I’ll be here.”
And for those wondering, Cartwright’s formal first name is actually Roderick. But the Conroe, Texas native has an interesting backstory behind the nickname.
“My grandmother gave me the nickname Rock Baby when I was younger because I was kind of clumsy,” Cartwright said. “But the older I got, they took the Baby off and started calling me Rock. I didn’t grow too much and it kind of stuck.”
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