SANTA CLARA -- Linebacker Patrick Willis was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday after recording 10 tackles, an interception and two passes defensed in the 49ers' 34-0 victory at the New York Jets on Sunday.Willis, who made the Pro Bowl each of his first five NFL seasons, was part of a 49ers effort that limited New York to 145 total yards and 2.9 yards per play as the 49ers posted their first road shutout since the 2001 season."I want to thank my teammates, especially those guys in the front seven," Willis said. "I don't think Id' be half the guy I am today without those guys. I'm thankful for those guys and I'm appreciative for my coaches."I never think about any of that stuff (awards). I try to do my job the best I can and give our team the best chance to win and our defense the best chance to be successful."This is Willis' second career Player of the Week Award. He won last season in Week 5. He is the first 49ers linebacker to be named Defensive Player of the Week multiple times. And the previous 49ers player to win the honor in back-to-back seasons was safety Tony Parrish in 2002 and '03.
PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.
Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.
"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.
Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.
After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.
The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.
With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.
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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