Brown living up to expectations -- on and off field


Brown living up to expectations -- on and off field

SANTA CLARA -- The move was widely seen as a gamble back in April 2007.

Cornerback Tarell Brown, who had been arrested twice within five months for marijuana possession, became an example throughout the nation of a prospective NFL player who was a "character risk" during the draft.

As a result, the player generally regarded as a third-round talent saw his draft stock plummet and his reputation shattered after his two well-publicized run-ins with the law.

The 49ers' top two decision-makers at the time, coach Mike Nolan and general manager Scot McCloughan, met with Brown on separate occasions and investigated the incidents thoroughly. Texas coach Mack Brown vouched for his former player's character.

The 49ers ended Brown's fall in the draft. The club selected him in the fifth round as the 147th player chosen. McCloughan would later say he never considered Brown much of a risk, at all.

Midway into his third season, the 49ers rewarded Brown with a contract extension through the 2013 season. Brown, now 26, has continued to live up to the organization's expectation that his missteps off the field would not be repeated.

When told Thursday that Brown entered the league with some baggage, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was clearly taken aback."Really? That surprises me," Fangio said.

Fangio said he knew next to nothing about Brown before he followed coach Jim Harbaugh from Stanford to the 49ers. And since he has started coaching Brown, Fangio said he has been thoroughly impressed.

"I don't know what his circumstances were, but where he's at today, what my exposure to him has been since the beginning of training camp, I'd have a hard time believing that he had any issues on or off the field," Fangio said.

A week ago, Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain was arrested on a variety of misdemeanor charges, including one for discharging a firearm, in his hometown in Alabama. While all the details have yet to come to light, it's safe to assume McClain placed himself in a position that could've easily been avoided.And that is the lesson Brown said he learned the difficult way.

"You have to surround yourself with positive people," Brown told "Sometimes, it's not always the person, it's the company that you keep. A lot of times your company can bring you down and put you in a bad situation.

"In my situation, in college, I was around some people that didn't have my best interests at heart. It hurt me in the long run. At the end of the day, all I could do was get better as a person. I know that's not me. I guess everybody around here who's been around me and hangs around me, they know I'm not that type of person."

Veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer has been Brown's teammate every step of the way. And he can't fathom how anyone could've ever had any question about Brown's intentions.

"Personally, I don't believe it," Spencer said. "I think I speak for everyone here, saying we haven't seen anything remotely close to allegations of the character issues he supposedly had coming out of Texas. He's a great guy -- a family guy.

"He's grown as a player. But as a person, he's always been a good guy. He laughs, cracks a lot of jokes. He's very intelligent. He's never been in any trouble -- on the field, off the field, nothing like that."

Brown has endured many hardships in his life. When he was 9, his mother was murdered as she was getting into her car to go to work one morning. He moved in with his father, who saw football as Tarell's vehicle to earn a scholarship and get an education. Two months before the draft that would see the 49ers select Brown, his father died of a heart attack.

A month later, Brown was arrested a second time for possession. Brown was with his cousin, whom authorities said had a history of drug possession. For his first brush with the law, Brown was suspended for the Texas-Ohio State game in 2006 after getting arrested for possession of marijuana and gun possession. A former teammate assumed responsibility for the marijuana.

"I don't think people have looked to bring me down, I just think it's a selfish world and a lot of times people might not realize the things they're putting their friends or family through," Brown said. "They might not know they're putting other people in danger. It might be a normal routine for them. But to me, it's not a normal routine because if my name's in the paper, it's a big deal. If your name's in the paper, it's brushed under the rug. It's a big difference."

Brown requested drug tests both times, and both times he was proven clean. The charges were dismissed.It's not so much that Brown has changed as a person. But those episodes forced him to make some difficult choices about with whom he could socialize.

"When you're young, you feel like your invincible," Brown said. "You feel like your friends, what they do, won't hurt you. But it can. So you got to keep yourself away from those types of people and say, 'Look, we can be friends but at a distance. We can speak, but coming to my house or hanging out or riding in a car or going to spend time with my family? No, we can't do that.

"I learned from it and it made me a better person because now I'm a father and I know how to carry myself and I know how to say "No' or 'We don't have the same goals or the same interests, so why do you need to be around me?' You live and you learn. As you get older, you get better."

And Brown has gotten better on the field, too. After starting five games over his first four NFL seasons, Brown has nailed down a job as the full-time starter at right cornerback. He ranks third on the team with 10 passes defensed on a defense that is surrendering a league-low 13.4 points per game.

"(He's) a real pro," Fangio said. "The guy works really hard in the meetings, watching film, taking notes, studying, asking questions. He does everything off the field that you would want a guy to do."

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.

The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.

An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.

Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.

"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.

Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.

"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.


49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

SANTA CLARA -- General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan sat down with 49ers pass-rusher Aaron Lynch shortly after assuming their new roles to give him an outline of what was expected.

Aaron Lynch entered the NFL in 2014 as a fifth-round draft pick despite having the talent worthy of a much-earlier selection. There were concerns about his commitment and character.

Lynch showed plenty of promise in his first two seasons. He tied for the club lead both seasons with six and 6.5 sacks, respectively. Last year, Lynch reported to the offseason program 30 pounds overweight. He was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy of substances of abuse. Then, he missed considerable time with an ankle injury. In seven games, Lynch recorded just 1.5 sacks.

John Lynch and Shanahan told Aaron Lynch his past transgressions would not be held against him, but he had to work hard and prove himself. As Lynch enters the final year of his original four-year contract, his spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster is anything but a certainty.

“Basically, everybody on this team, no matter what has happened before you came into the league or when you’ve been in the league, they’re not holding that against you and it’s a new clean slate,” Lynch said. “So I need to do everything I can to make sure I have a clean slate with them.”

Lynch is currently working with the second unit at the “Leo” position on the 49ers’ defensive line, behind Arik Armstead.

“’Leo’ is a lot of damn fun, so, yeah, I like it a lot,” Lynch said. “You get to set the edge and go get the quarterback.”

Lynch said he is in better physical condition than he was a year ago at this time. He said his target playing weight is in the 260-270 range. He said he is currently in the 280s.

“I came in heavy, but I’ve been working my (butt) off to get down to where my coach wants me to get down to, and where I feel I would be best to give everything I can for my team and do what I can for my team,” Lynch said.

While the 49ers did not witness any improvement in Lynch's commitment at the beginning of the offseason, things seem to be turning around. Shanahan said Lynch has missed only one day of the team's voluntary offseason program -- an excused absence to deal with a situation concerning his wife.

“There’s no doubt Aaron’s going in the right direction for us," Shanahan said. "He came in in the offseason, we challenged him hard with just the way we worked and stuff. He hasn’t shied away from any of it. He’s jumped in on all of our stuff.

"So he’s gotten better each day. He’s gotten more in shape each day and I’m seeing it on the field each day.”