For 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks, his NFL journey hasn’t exactly gone according to plan, and on a few different occasions it looked like it was going to come to an end early. Not only did he deal with numerous injuries early in his career, but he was released twice and it wasn’t a certainty that he would have a home in this league. Until he got to San Francisco. Brooks was finally given an opportunity to play in the Bay Area and has flourished. This past season he set a career high in sacks and tackles and was a key piece of the best defense in the NFL. After everything he has gone through, it has paid off for Brooks in a big way. The 27-year-old linebacker was given a new six-year, $44.5 million contract to stay in San Francisco and try to make a run at a Super Bowl appearance after falling just short a year ago. Ahmad Brooks joined KNBR in San Francisco with Fitz and Brooks to talk about his journey and what this new contract means to him after everything he has been through, why he never gave up after being injured so much and released multiple times, and talks about the San Francisco 49ers defense and what makes it so special.
On his journey and what this new contract means to him after all he has dealt with:
“It’s been a long, long journey for me. I guess being one of the top prospects coming out of college and then seeing that dream shattered, and then I had to go through the supplemental draft and go through that whole process. I got drafted in the third round, was supposed to be a first round draft pick and let that slip through my hands. I was with the Bengals for two years, then got released, then the 49ers picked me up and I was an inside linebacker. I was coming off an injury my second year, then the 49ers picked me up my third year so my whole third year in the NFL I didn’t play not one snap, I just pretty much practiced so it was kind of like a blessing in disguise to be picked up by the San Francisco and for me to still be getting paid as if I were playing every week and being able to get back on track after an injury because I had injured both of my groins, I had tore both of my groins so just pretty much getting back into football shape and doing football drills and stuff like that. My fourth year I had a chance to become a second team guy coming in on third downs and rushing the passer. That’s when I had three sacks against the Arizona Cardinals. My fifth season pretty much was in the same position. I wanted to be the starter but I had an injury in training camp that set me back and didn’t put me in the starting lineup. This past year I took off. I told myself I wanted to focus on becoming a starter and then once I become a starter, stay a starter and to make as many plays as I can. I made the best of my opportunity and I’m happy to be in the position that I’m in right now.”
On why he never gave in after all the injuries and being cut multiple times:
“I just had that ‘want to’ attitude. I’ve always been a good football player no matter what league it was in or how old I was. I just couldn’t let myself go down like that. I just had pride and liked showcasing my talents. Every year I want to be the best linebacker, the best person in the NFL, and I just worked at bettering myself. When I injured my knee in college, I didn’t recover as good as I needed to and I don’t think my physical therapy went as well as it should’ve and it took me a while to bounce back from that so I pretty much worked even harder when it came to working on my groin and trying to get back as soon as possible. It actually took a year for me to recover. That’s where the San Francisco 49ers come along and I thank them for picking me up and giving me a year to recover. I just progressed on the years with that.”
What makes the 49ers defense so special:
“All across the board man there’s talent on the defense and on our offense but our defense is something special. You’ve got Justin Smith, you’ve got Patrick Willis, you’ve got Carlos (Rogers), you’ve got Dashon (Goldson), you’ve got Ray McDonald, you’ve got Parys (Harrellson), and there’s so many guys that you can name that go out there and make a big play at any given time. Got Donte Whitner out there knocking people out of the game, so many guys out there with talent and these are all first round guys pretty much so there’s a lot of talent out there. It was a lot of fun playing with them, but also in the locker room. It’s like that in the locker room. It’s fun in the locker room, it’s fun in practice, we joke around a lot, and it’s kind of like we’re brothers and that’s what makes it so special. The coaches feed off it too. They get jacked up seeing guys having fun. Not just at the game but in practice. You see Coach Harbaugh having fun and guys feed off that energy. It’s a great place to be in and I’m just so happy to be here man.”