Clark Haggans spent the past four seasons on Arizona’s sidelines for the intense NFC West rivalry with San Francisco, but has enjoyed his transition to the Bay Area in 2012. The veteran linebacker said he spoke to former Arizona teammate Sam Acho earlier this week, but there wasn’t much trash talk involved.
More than anything, Haggans is looking forward to another tough matchup against a divisional rival on Monday night.
“It’s an important game because it’s a divisional game,” Haggans said. “At the end of the year, divisional wins – especially when you get into that playoff picture and all that other stuff … it counts a little bit more. A game and some change.”
Haggans has embraced his role as the primary backup to outside linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith since being signed by the 49ers before the season. Haggans said he’s feeling comfortable with the scheme and being on the field, as he made his 49ers debut last week against Seattle.
“I got the grasp,” Haggans said. “Just meeting with (defensive coordinator) Vic (Fangio) and meeting with everybody, just being here and watching film. Getting out there and getting some reps, and getting more accustomed to the locker room, the guys, the city.”
Haggans has also benefitted from the structure of Fangio’s system, which is similar to the ones he played in during his time at Pittsburgh and Arizona. Fangio said the learning curve for Haggans hasn’t been anything the 13-year vet can’t handle.
“We have full confidence in him to go in there and execute,” Fangio said.
While he might be the oldest member of the defense at age 35, he isn’t slowing down just yet.
“The old dude? I don’t have a rocking chair yet in front of my locker,” Haggans said. “I take my vitamins and all that other stuff. I’m not on one of those commercials where you see an old dude running through a field.”
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