Image Credit: Andrew Giesemann
Last Saturday’s NFC divisional round playoff showdown saw the San Francisco 49ers handily defeat the Minnesota Vikings 27-10. There were, however, some hiccups along the way. One in particular involved cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon struggling early and giving up a big play to Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs which led to a 41-yard touchdown. After only 13 defensive snaps Witherspoon was benched and replaced by Emmanuel Moseley.
Instead of moping about it though, Witherspoon decided he still wanted to help his team win. He asked special teams coach Richard Hightower to give him Moseley’s special teams snaps to keep “E-man” fresh on defense. That kind of “next man up” mentality is what head coach Kyle Shanahan has been preaching all season, and really since he came to San Francisco in 2017. But what other jobs would 49ers players, especially rookies and youngsters be willing to undertake to ensure victory?
Delivery for George
It is a well-documented fact that George Kittle loves Panda Express. As a matter of fact, he goes there every Monday for “Panda Mondays”. But as Grant Marek of SFGate unluckily found out this past Monday, sometimes Kittle uses a delivery service to get his Panda meals.
For undrafted rookies who want to earn their keep on the team, forget about carrying the star tight end’s pads after practice. You show up to Panda Express every Monday afternoon without fail during the season and you pick up that double order of orange chicken and you take it directly to where-so-ever Kittle is located. That could be the practice facility or that could be at this residence. Deliver that orange chicken wherever it needs to go!
Photographer for Jimmy G
If this 49ers’ season has taught us any one non-football thing, it’s that, well, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is everyone’s type. His calm, humble demeanor and constant praise for his teammates has everyone fawning over him. Ok let’s be honest here it’s really his GQ level look that puts him over the top in everyone’s books. He doesn’t have many Instagram posts but when he does post pictures, they are grade-A quality.
Rookies are known to have to foot the bill at lavish restaurants for the whole team as a part of their rites of passage. But here’s a better idea, Jimmy G needs a personal photographer. Make that rookie show up before practice when Jimmy is warming up and stay late after practice as well when he’s getting those extra throws in and photograph him doing ALL OF IT! Extra emphasis though on making sure it doesn’t look like a photoshoot and that these all come out looking like candid shots!
Starts with the Dirty Work
All jokes aside though, what Witherspoon did on Saturday was representative of the 49ers’ selfless team mentality. He didn’t mope and sulk, he offered to do whatever would help the team win. That speaks volumes about his character, and also about the kind of squad that Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have built. Champions don’t just appear, rather they emerge from going that extra mile and doing the dirty work that no one else wants to do. As the legendary Jerry Rice once said, “Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't.”
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