Shawntae Spencer: 'This is a classy city'

Shawntae Spencer: 'This is a classy city'
March 15, 2012, 6:16 pm
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Veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer, whom the 49ers released Thursday morning, reflected on relationships built and good times during his eight-year "roller-coaster" ride with the organization.Spencer told CSNBayArea.com that he communicated with numerous individuals from every level of the 49ers' organization in the immediate aftermath of the 49ers' announcement that Spencer was released.And Spencer received a phone call from a former coach, too. Vance Joseph, who spent six seasons as a 49ers assistant, is now defensive backs coach of the Houston Texans -- a possible Spencer destination for the 2012 season.
NEWS: 49ers release Spencer -- cut 3.3M from cap
Throughout his career, Spencer was regarded as a stand-up guy in the locker room. He never sought the spotlight, but he always took the time and effort to give thoughtful responses to questions from the media.He was a big favorite of those who work inside the building. More than any player I've ever seen, Spencer cultivated relationships with 49ers employees asides from just his teammates.Spencer was not invited to the NFL scouting combine in 2004, but then-general manager Terry Donahue selected him in the second round. Spencer would go on to start 72 games in eight seasons. He recorded 11 interceptions with the 49ers, five of which came in 2009 and 2010 while starting every game in back-to-back seasons.
Here is a Q&A that Spencer granted Thursday morning:Is this what you were expecting to happen at some point this offseason?
Spencer: "It's something that I've spoken about with the 49ers organization. (General manager) Trent Baalke and I had a nice conversation last night. Yeah, it was something that was expected on my part."Does something like this stir emotions, thinking back at all the seasons you spent with the 49ers?
Spencer: "Yeah, definitely. I've had a great experience here and I'm very grateful to the 49ers organization and to the York family for giving me the opportunity out of college (University of Pittsburgh) to continue playing football on a professional level and live out my dream. I'm very appreciative of that. And my family is very appreciative of that, as well."It's been an amazing, amazing eight years -- a roller-coaster. But I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of the ups and downs of my career here. That's what you learn builds character and makes you a better player and person."I'm very appreciative of the people in that building. This morning, I've been getting a lot of phone calls and texts from just the staff, from Miguel (Sandoval) and Raul (Sandoval), the janitors, to Steve (Urbaniak), Doc (Dressler) and the entire equipment staff; Manny Rivera, who is one of my closest friends, one of the athletic trainers, Jeff Ferguson, and all those guys in the training room to Dario (Montenegro) to George and the guys at the security desk. They'd welcome me in, and I'd work out in the offseason at odd hours -- 2 in the morning or 12 at night. I really will miss those guys. I cherish those relationship and I'll continue to nurture those relationships and stay in contact with those guys."A few teammates . . . Reggie Smith, reached out to me early this morning. We spoke briefly. It's an emotional roller-coaster because I'm going through all the good times, and we do have a home here and I'm taking my little girls to school today. It's a good thing, but it's also a sad time because I have so many memories -- fond ones."Do you plan on staying in the Bay Area?
Spencer: "That's something that I'll determine once I actually sit down and handle the task at hand -- sit down with my agent to see which suitor is actually the best situation for me, and we'll go from there. And, then, as far as long term, life after football, that's a decision I'll make with my family. I'll always consider this my second home, you know, aside from Pittsburgh.You went through so many rough years with the 49ers with wins and losses, and the one year things turned around, you were injured and didn't get a chance to contribute much. Did that make last season bittersweet for you?
Spencer: "I was more frustrated because I know the work, year-in and year-out, I put in. I'm not a guy who ever comes into training camp out of shape. I was more saddened that I got injured in training camp. Whatever takes place after that, it's a business."It was good to see the organization and the guys have success because it's been so bad with all the coaching changes and the turnover and no winning seasons in a long time. It was good to see the guys laughing and smiling and getting to experience that. I'm not the type of person who, if things aren't going well for me, I'm not happy for anyone else. I did have my tough moments in there -- first time ever being inactive, and things like that. But I wouldn't say it was one of my worst years."The year I tore my ACL (2008) was by far my toughest year as a pro, just going through that and fighting back from that and dealing with the things the media were writing that year with maybe my career was over or my time with the 49ers was over. That was the toughest year of my career when I sustained that injury. Last year had its moments where it was tough for me, but I'll take that and use it as motivation and keep pursuing my career and working on my craft."What's next for you? Any visits scheduled yet?
Spencer: "Actually, the very first -- it had to be 9:30 when Vance Joseph called me. He's the DBs coach at Houston. He said he had spoken to my agent this morning. There are a few other suitors, but I haven't taken any time right now. I'm just trying to get my affairs in order and sit down later tonight with my agent and find out what's out there right now. The good thing about this, is I get to choose what situation is good for me. I'll take a look at who's interested and make an informed decision from there."Like I said, I'm very appreciative of the fans. This is a classy city. I've seen places where losing teams, the fans are jumping ship. It's been a good fan experience here, as well."