Patrick Willis looking forward to challenge of facing Pitta

January 30, 2013 | WNST Staff

LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS

 

(on Ravens fullback Vonta Leach) “Vonta Leach is a good fullback. He is an All-Pro fullback, a Pro Bowl fullback, and really I almost feel like he is the last of the dying breed of what you can call a real fullback. He is a tough guy and a guy that every play you have to come with it.”

 

(on not letting Vonta Leach into the second level to block) “Really it’s just recognizing what’s going on and recognizing the play and just going after it. You have to understand that you have 10 other guys on the defense and if you do the job that you are supposed to do and let the guys help you with the rest.”

 

(on his relationship with Michael Oher) “That relationship is good. Every offseason we try to get together and hang out. I love Big Mike like a brother man and he is an awesome guy. Like I said, in the offseason we try to get together and hang.”

 

(on if it will be odd to see Michael Oher on the other sideline) “No. I don’t want to use the word odd. It’s going to be a blessing to play against someone that you played college ball with and someone that you admire as a person. You wish him well, but at the same time too, we want to win. We are going to do everything we can to go out there and compete at a high level and we want to win.”

 

(on if he has met up with Michael Oher yet in New Orleans) “No, we haven’t met up yet this week. It’s just crazy with everything and the media stuff we have to do. We have our own teams and we have our own practices, but we are going to try to get together one night this week and see if we can get something to eat if we can.”

 

(on the growth of Ahmad Brooks this year) “Ahmad is one of those guys that we have been together now for the last four or five years. Just to see how far he has come since the first time he came with us as part of this team has been amazing. It’s been a big change of how he goes about his work and wanting to understand and show us how much it means to him and how much he cares, and showing that the previous things that he had that might have held up his head didn’t matter anymore. He was with us to make a new home and to be better and to make this team a better defense. He playing outside linebacker the way it’s supposed to be played. To play linebacker in our defense you can’t be just a run-around guy. You have to be a stout guy and be able to take on blocks and set the edges, and he does that for us week in and week out. That’s the kind of guy I want to be in the middle with because they set those edges and keep us from having to run a whole lot.”

 

(on where he is in his career compared to Ray Lewis) “I never have been a person to talk about myself. I tend to let others do that. My job is to go out there and compete all the time at a high level and be the very best football player that I can be. People always make comparisons of me to other people. I have the tattoos I have for a reason. On the inside when I flex, it says ‘I’m me.’ What that means is I have all of the respect in the world to the guys that they compare me too. Those are guys who have been there and done that and guys who are doing it right now at a high level. I just hope that someday I can have that kind of name when people talk about linebackers; I can be one of those guys that are talked about. At the end of the day, I can only be me and I can only be the best football player I can be. I hold myself to a high level and I hold myself to a high standard and each day I want to be able to look myself in the mirror when I come off that field, or come off the game field, ‘Did I give it my very best?’ If I can do that, then I am OK with me. I am never satisfied but I am OK with knowing that I can answer that truthfully because only I know if I did. At the end of the day, I can only be me.”

 

(on becoming a leader on the defense) “I have never been a big ‘ra-ra’ guy. I have never been a guy that gets up in people’s face. There are all types of different leaders in this world. Some people lead by example and others lead by words. Some people lead by not saying anything and people just feel it. I am the type of person that has always been taught to work for what you want and to work for what you want to accomplish. I am a lot better worker than I am a talked. Just let me show you and you just watch. I will show you want we are talking about. To have the kind of guys I have played with over the years and the kind of guys I am playing with now. It’s not hard to go out there and show them because those guys care and they want to win. Anytime that you have a group of guys like that, it makes your job a little bit easier.

-more-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Wednesday, January 30, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

MORE LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS

 

(on how much media he is consuming) “Obviously, when you are walking by the TV right now there are only two teams. There are only two football teams left. It’s just us and the Ravens. When you walk by the TVs you see them talking about the Super Bowl. I don’t like reading the papers a whole lot. I don’t like to sit down and listen to what people have to say. At the end of the day, everyone is going to have an opinion and if you get caught up in what they are talking about and you are not a strong-minded person then you can let it bother you. I try not to pay too much attention to it.”

 

(on why the 49ers will win if it’s a close game) “If it comes down to a close game it will be because we made more plays and we executed more. It will be because we wanted it more.”

 

(on what the biggest challenge on Sunday will be) “Our biggest challenge on Sunday will be going out there under the bright lights and playing a complete football game from across the board, offense, defense, and special teams. It’s hard because sometimes you might have two phases, sometimes you might just have one, but if you can get all three phases then a lot of time that guarantees you a chance to win.”

 

(on playing in the Super Bowl) “It’s going to be crazy man. I never really been a super bug emotional guy when it comes to making a play or winning the game, but right now we are here at the Super Bowl and it’s a normal week to me with a whole lot more media. I’m doing nothing that I wouldn’t do at home during a regular season game. I don’t like using the extra energy that I don’t have to use. Why change anything? Why change your routine and the things that got you to this point. This week I really don’t think it’s going to hit me until the night before. I’m usually like, ‘It’s game day tomorrow, let’s go.’ All during the week it’s just preparation and getting yourself in tune. It’s just getting yourself mentally there and physically there and then the night before the game, I think that’s where my nerves start moving and it’s hard to sleep. I’m like, ‘OK, it’s coming.’”

 

(on the pending case between former NFL players and the league regarding player safety) “That’s something that I don’t really want to get into. Like I said before, if people have something wrong with them, then I guess they are going to say what they have to say. That’s the talk and subject right now. I have nothing to do with that right now. I am doing alright. I don’t know. I don’t want to touch on that subject.”

 

(on how he will calm his nerves before the game on Saturday night) “Really man, the biggest thing that I try to do is before I go to sleep on Saturday nights. I just sit down and I will pray. I just ask the Lord for peace and say, ‘Lord, let your will be done.’ At the end of the day His will will be done regardless of what we want the outcome to be. I just pray and hope that when I go to sleep at night that he will give me peace. I wake up in the morning and am ready to go.”

 

(on the problems that Dennis Pitta presents) “Dennis Pitta, he has emerged to be a good tight end for them. He is a guy who is very elusive and can stretch the field. He is one of the guys that I’m sure I am going to have my times of covering and I am looking forward to the challenge. I really am. I still say that there are very few linebackers that go out there and they cover the way that I do in our packages. It will be a great challenge to go out there and showcase not only play the run and play in the box, but I can play outside of the box as well. It’s going to be a key point I’m sure when I am on him. I am looking forward to the challenge.”

 

 

 

 

 

-more-

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Super Bowl XLVII – Wednesday, January 30, 2013

 

QUOTES FROM SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS MEDIA SESSION

 

MORE LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS

 

(on how Ray Lewis has influenced him as a linebacker) “He has influenced me in the sense that he has played the game for so long at a high level. He plays with passion and he plays with enthusiasm. I call him the Mufasa of middle linebackers. He is just that type of guy that when you watch him you just say, ‘Wow.’ The legacy that he is leaving is a legacy that I feel like will never be forgotten for as long as football is around. He will be one of those names that for as long as people talk about linebackers people will say, ‘Wow, that Ray Lewis.’ That’s the kind of passion that I try to play with. That’s the kind of passion that I strive to play with. That’s the kind of passion that before I even knew who Ray Lewis was, I have always tried to play with. To see him do it at this level and be recognized the way he has, and to see his play, when people talking about passing the torch, that’s the kind of torch that I want to see and I’m sure other linebackers are also. When you watch him play you say, ‘Wow, that’s a bad dude.’ That’s what I have been a fan of, his passion for the game, his heart for the game, the way he plays every snap and the way he plays every play, play in and play out. That’s for real. I just hope that someday, when I am done playing this game, that when I am done playing that they can say those same things about me as well.”

 

(on why he wears number 52) “It’s one of those things that when I was drafted they asked me and said, ‘What number do you want?’ They gave me 51, I think these are the numbers, 57, 58, 59. Honestly, I’m an even number guy one. Two, 52 just looks so much better than 51, 58, 57 and 59. Maybe that’s just me. Not only did that number 52 look better, I also knew that a guy that I know right now and at that time was wearing that number. It’s one of those numbers that if you wear that number you have to represent. I said to myself that this will be a number play into. This will be a number to represent. At the end of the day, there are expectations behind this number and for this number. You have to show what this number is about and since the time I was drafted I was saying that I have to have 52. If I could have had my college number of 49, then I probably would have had 49. That’s where it is six years later.”

 

(on how he has adjusted to living in California) “Living in Bruceten (Tenn) and then going to Mississippi, then going to California, it was a big change. You don’t know what you don’t know. Coming from the small town I grew up in, when I went to Ole Miss, I thought, ‘Wow man, this town is huge.’ Other guys would come from Florida and Louisiana and I played with some teammates that would laugh at me and say that this town is small and complain about how small it was and I was talking about how big it is. Then I got out to California and I will never forget that when they picked me up from the airport, and all of the sudden they took me city, I don’t know if we went into San Francisco first or San Jose first, but either way, both are just very, very big places. I just remember being like, ‘Wow, this is a lot of cars. How am I going to drive in all of this traffic?’ Little by little you learn to adapt and now I call San Jose and San Francisco my home. That’s where I bought my house and hopefully that’s where I will be for a long, long time.”

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