Justin Smith’s hard-working ways come into greater focus thanks to a remarkable story from ESPN.com’ Elizabeth Merrill. San Francisco’s four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle doesn’t seek out attention, but this story certainly explains the roots of Smith’s work ethic.
Smith owns the Railwood Golf Club in Holts Summit, Mo., a course that costs $25 to play 18 holes with a cart.
“Just Smith wanted it this way,” Merrill wrote. “He didn’t want to gouge the working man who couldn’t take a Monday off to hit golf balls. Smith would prefer, though, that you didn’t know he’s the owner of this golf course nestled in the rolling hills of Central Missouri.
“His name is not on the voicemail, or the website, and that seems typical. Smith is 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, and one of the most important players on the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted defense, but he prefers to remain in the background. When his teammates are getting sacks, it means Smith is doing his job. Smith has a goal. When he’s finished with football, he’d like to be able to go to the grocery store without anyone recognizing him.”
Check out more of the top Super Bowl XLVII headlines after the jump.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Staley, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Vic Fangio
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NEW ORLEANS – The 49ers touched down in New Orleans on Sunday and greeted the national media in the Big Easy before getting preparations underway for Super Bowl XLVII. Jim Harbaugh and a few of the team’s biggest leaders addressed reporters on Sunday night, discussing the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl run.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com broke down the trip for the 49ers and compared it to the two trips to Youngstown, Ohio, that the team has taken in the regular season since Harbaugh took over as coach.
“But the 49ers’ week-long stay at the site of Super Bowl XLVII is bringing back memories of the road trips the club has taken the past two years during the regular season,” Maiocco wrote. “Yes, there will be a lot more media and hype surrounding the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, but it is also a time for the team to focus on football — just as they’ve done in Youngstown on week-long trips.”
The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features more 49ers arrival news and more.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Dashon Goldson, Frank Gore, George Seifert, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Staley, John McVay, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis
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As the 49ers make their Quest for Six, it’s appropriate to remember the central figures who were behind previous five Super Bowls in franchise history. Along with former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., coach Bill Walsh was the face of the 49ers as they became one of the NFL’s most storied organizations.
Walsh, who was also a friend and mentor to Jim Harbaugh, has left his fingerprints all over the league. From his teachings of the West Coast Offense to his impressive coaching tree of former assistants who have shaped the NFL over the years, Walsh will always be remembered as one of the sport’s greatest innovators.
Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Magazine detailed Walsh’s legacy and how a book written by Walsh captures the coach’s dedication to his craft.
“Walsh began writing alone at his beach house in Monterey, Calif., always at 8 a.m., on yellow legal pads, in pencil, in all caps, his penmanship so clean that it could be its own font,” Wickersham wrote. “He would tear off sheets and stack them neatly in piles on the floor. This was in 1995, and Walsh didn’t know what kind of book he wanted. A leadership guide? A playbook? A coaching manual? A blueprint for front offices? Walsh told (Roger) Craig he wanted it to be a ‘real football book,’ not some light autobiography, waxing poetic about Super Bowls and Montana-to-Rice touchdown passes. He wanted his first book to motivate coaches, not delight fans.”
The 49ers would also like to announce that the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority is offering a Super Bowl special on pet adoptions. Select cats can be adopted for $4 and select dogs can be adopted for $9.
The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate also features the latest Super Bowl headlines, Patrick Willis’ strong relationship with his foster family, a historical look at the biggest games in 49ers postseason history and more.
Tags: Alex Boone, Anthony Dixon, Bill Walsh, Colin Kaepernick, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Greg Roman, Jim Harbaugh, LaMichael James, Patrick Willis
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San Francisco and Baltimore are two proud football towns with rich histories of football. 49ers fans and Ravens fans alike will descend on New Orleans in the coming days as the teams gear up for Super Bowl XLVII.
San Francisco and Baltimore also feature a tradition of football competition that dates back to the 1950s and the days of Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park. Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle took a historical look back at past battles between football franchises from the two cities.
“There was a time when ‘San Francisco vs. Baltimore’ meant something entirely different than the matchup we’ll get in this Super Bowl,” Jenkins wrote. “It meant antiquated, neighborhood stadiums in the middle of town. It meant some of the most riveting, free-wheeling NFL games ever played.”
Did you know Jim Harbaugh, Randy Moss and Ray Lewis also played in the same game back in 1998? Today’s Morning Tailgate features that backstory, highlights the contributions of the York family and more.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Colin Kaepernick, Jed York, Jim Harbaugh, John York, Michael Crabtree, Patrick Willis
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For most running backs in the NFL, their production starts to dip as they approach their 30th birthday. But 49ers rushing king Frank Gore isn’t like most running backs.
The franchise’s all-time leader in yards, touchdowns and carries is still a workhorse in the backfield at the age of 29. Last week against the Packers, the eight-year veteran ran for 119 yards, joining Colin Kaepernick (181 rushing yards) and Michael Crabtree (119 yards receiving) as the only trio in NFL playoff history to feature two, 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver on the same team.
Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated traced Gore’s career and his ability to bounce back from devastating injuries and still be one of the game’s most productive backs.
“His resiliency is largely due to genetics and toughness, but there is an ample dose of passion in the recipe,” Trotter wrote. “It might not be as public as a Ray Lewis pre-game dance or speech, but it’s obvious behind the closed doors of the locker room, where the soft-spoken 5-foot-9, 217-pound veteran has been known to cry at his locker after losses, or on the practice field, where during training camp in 2007 coaches had to hide his helmet because he kept sneaking onto to the practice field despite having a broken hand.”
Do you want to see the NFC Championship game in Atlanta? 49ers Faithful have until Noon today to enter to win a trip to Atlanta that includes airfare, lodging and game tickets.
Today’s Morning Tailgate also focuses on Colin Kaepernick in the national spotlight, NFC Championship matchups to watch and more.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Jim Harbaugh, Jonathan Goodwin, Justin Smith, LaMichael James, Patrick Willis
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Looking for an unsung hero on the San Francisco 49ers defense? Look no further than sixth-year cornerback Tarell Brown.
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound cornerback continues to be one of the key contributors on a 49ers defense that stands one win away from reaching the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl.
Brown recorded a career-high 59 tackles in the regular season to go with 14 pass breakups and two interceptions.
Quietly, Brown has come up big all season for the 49ers. The fundamentally-sound defensive back intercepted a pass in San Francisco’s Week 17 win and followed it up two weeks later with an impressive interception in the 45-31 Divisional Playoff win over the Green Bay Packers.
For a second consecutive postseason, Brown turned in a key interception.
Brown’s efforts, however, aren’t going unnoticed. ProFootballFocus.com reviewed the 49ers dominant victory over the Packers and singled out Brown’s performance. According to PFF, Brown was thrown against on four different occasions by Green Bay’s high-powered passing attack. In the end, Brown allowed two receptions for 16 yards. His interception, a quality over-the-shoulder reception of a deep Aaron Rodgers throw, was also returned 39 yards.
With the NFC title game just around the corner, the 49ers defensive back will be counted on once more against Atlanta’s impressive passing arsenal.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Donte Whitner, Jed York, Jim Harbaugh, LaMichael James, Patrick Willis, Tarell Brown
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San Francisco’s pair of Pro Bowl inside linebackers live for competition. So much so, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman would do anything in their power to win a Super Bowl.
More importantly, the 49ers dominant defenders want nothing more than to win the ultimate prize together.
The tight-knit relationship of San Francisco’s play-making linebackers came into greater focus in our latest Gameday magazine cover story. The cover, designed by team graphic designer Ben Mayberry, depicts the bond between two of the NFL’s most versatile defenders.
In true fashion, both primetime players brought their best effort in the 49ers 45-31 Divisional Playoff win over the Green Bay Packers. The tandem combined to make 12 tackles with Willis leading the team with seven tackles and a crucial sack on Aaron Rodgers. It stood as San Francisco’s only sack of the game and forced a Packers punt to start the second half.
Get to know more about the tight bond between the two linebackers and their all-out approach to this year’s postseason in our latest Gameday feature.
Tags: Jim Harbaugh, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Vic Fangio
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Patrick Willis’ potential role against the Green Bay Packers has already been discussed at great length this week. But to his credit, the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers said he’s eager to carry out whatever responsibilities are asked of him from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
If the Packers elect to use four wide receivers at a time in Saturday night’s Divisional Playoff matchup, Willis could very well be on the sideline in the 49ers dime defense in favor of fellow Pro Bowl linebacker, NaVorro Bowman. San Francisco’s “Mike” linebacker, played by Bowman, covers the middle of the field in the 49ers dime defense.
However, the likelihood of the Packers throwing even more against the 49ers isn’t a guarantee. After all, Green Bay has evolved into more of a balanced offense ever since San Francisco opened up the 2012 regular season with a solid, 30-22 road victory at Lambeau Field. Furthermore, wide receiver Jordy Nelson was reportedly missing at Tuesday’s open portion of Green Bay’s practice. Nelson suffered a leg injury in Week 17 and later limped off the field late in Green Bay’s Wild Card win over Minnesota. Both teams will release the first injury reports of the week later today.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Packers test their improved running attack against the 49ers or utilize their numerous playmakers at the wide receiver position. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com and Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee both examined the possibility of Willis being on the sideline in situational packages against Green Bay.
Regardless of the personnel Green Bay utilizes on Saturday, Willis will surely find ways to impact the game.
Tags: Anthony Dixon, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Staley, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis
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The 49ers will do a lot more scoreboard watching this weekend, just like Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner was doing after the regular season finale in the photo atop this post.
The game San Francisco is most focused on features the two teams they anxiously watched at the conclusion of a Week 17 win over Arizona. On Saturday night, if the Green Bay Packers are victorious at home over the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers will travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers on Jan. 12 in the Divisional Playoff round.
For what it’s worth, longtime Sports Illustrated writer Peter King is predicting a Packers win.
If the Vikings win, however, the winner of the Seattle Seahawks-Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon tilt will travel to Candlestick Park for a primetime postseason clash.
Tickets for the Jan. 12 Divisional matchup presented by State Farm will be made available on Monday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. PT via Ticketmaster. Quantities will be limited, so fans will be encouraged to visit NFL Ticket Exchange for additional seats.
But before the 49ers can find out who they’ll play next week, the team will hold one last workout this week that figures to impact San Francisco’s decision at kicker for the postseason.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Andy Lee, Billy Cundiff, David Akers, Donte Whitner, Eric Davis, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis
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Nine Niners made the 2013 Pro Bowl on Wednesday. However, it is now a goal for those members of the San Francisco 49ers to not play in the game.
Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner all would rather play in the Super Bowl than the league’s annual All-Star game.
Nonetheless, it was still remarkable for the 49ers to send nine players to the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season. Furthermore, San Francisco led the NFL with nine Pro Bowl selections.
“The 49ers sent two-fifths of their starting offensive line and six members of their defense to the Pro Bowl,” noted ESPN.com’s Mike Sando.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, Frank Gore, Joe Staley, Justin Smith, Mario Manningham, Mike Iupati, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis
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