Dec. 30, 2010MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comSANTA CLARA -- Linebacker Patrick Willis, whose career with the 49ers began with 63 consecutive starts, will be on the sideline Sunday for the team's season finale against the Arizona Cardinals.Willis underwent surgery on his broken right hand for the second time in three weeks. He now has three pins in his fourth metacarpal after the bone shifted after he played two games with a bulky cast. The injury will keep him sidelined 6-to-8 weeks and appears certain to sideline him for the Pro Bowl."As bad as I want to go out and play, just my will and desire to compete and give my teammates and organization everything I have, it hurts not to be able to complete this season," Willis said.
RELATED: More surgery for Willis, out Sunday
"Some of them (teammates) might not be here next year, so it means so much to be able to go out and compete with them and play with them."There is palpable sense of uncertainty in the 49ers' locker room these days. There are eight players who will be in the team's starting lineup Sunday in the regular-season finale whose contracts expire.In addition, the 49ers will have a new head coach, and the players are bracing for an anticipated lockout at the scheduled beginning of the new league year. The NFL's collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3.NEWS: NFL Headlines
"That's the reality of it," 49ers linebacker and player representative Takeo Spikes said. "This could be the last time we're together as a whole until the deal is done for the CBA."When asked if he anticipates a work stoppage, Spikes answered, "I think anything is possible, but my honest opinion about it, I don't see it getting done before the end of the league year. I don't."The players have been advised to save their money and leave the expensive Bay Area to spend their offseason in more cost-effective locales."As much as we all love the weather, at this point you have to do what makes sense," said Spikes, a 13-year veteran who is also scheduled for free agency. "And what makes sense is controlling your budget. We all know it's not cheap to live here."Said free-agent-to-be Manny Lawson, "Being in an environment where it doesn't cost as much is good for us."Spikes, Lawson, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin and safety Dashon Goldson are among the team's scheduled free agents on defense. Two years ago, Willis lobbied for Spikes' return to the team. He made the same plea Thursday."Hopefully we'll get the opportunity to play again next year and get this thing happening the way it's supposed to happen around here," Willis said.When asked specifically for his endorsement for Spikes to return, Willis answered, "There's no doubt. I do want him back. If they were to ask me, I'd ask what do I need to do to make that happen. He has a lot of football left him him. The guy plays unbelievable. He's a big asset to the defense and to the locker room, period. I'd love to have him back."Willis and Spikes are the 49ers' two-leading tacklers. Willis recorded 136 tackles (based on the coaches' review of game film), while Spikes has 114 tackles. Rookie NaVorro Bowman will start Sunday in place of Willis. Team president Jed York had an in-person interview scheduled for Thursday, a source said. The identity of the general-manager candidate was not immediately known. But it is known that former Denver Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist is scheduled to interview with York at some point this week, as CSN Bay Area reported earlier this week.
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Additional awardsEd Block Courage Award: Justin Smith.
Voted on by the players, this award is given annually to the player that exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage.Garry Niver Memorial Award: Takeo Spikes.
Voted on by members of the San Francisco chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America, this award goes to the 49ers player who is most cooperative and professional in helping the pro football writers do their jobs. Niver was a popular 49ers beat reporter with The San Mateo Times.
Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88.
Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.
A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.
Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.
Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014.
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Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:
"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.
"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"
Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen