2014 DRAFT GUIDE
49ers LB Patrick Willis to play through pain again

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-17 16:46

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - The pain Patrick Willis is feeling in his groin is not enough to keep him from starting in his home state when the San Francisco 49ers face the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Not even close.

San Francisco's All-Pro middle linebacker, who also is still healing a broken bone in his right hand suffered during training camp, plans to play through the pain for the second straight week after missing the previous two games. He admits he's not healthy - just healthy enough to help his team.

''I'd be lying if I said I felt A-plus out there,'' Willis said Thursday. ''I can't lie and say I can get to fifth gear right now. I don't think I can. But I think my first, second and third gear, maybe fourth, can be enough to do well. And hopefully when that bye week comes, I can get back up to that seventh gear.''

The 49ers (4-2) still have two games to play before that week off. And the way Willis sees it, he can grind through games at Tennessee (3-3) and against Jacksonville (0-6) in London and rest later.

San Francisco sure hopes that formula works out. Willis was solid, but not spectacular, for most of the 49ers' 32-20 win over Arizona last Sunday - but he made the biggest play of the game.

With the Cardinals driving for a go-ahead score in the third quarter, Willis stripped the ball from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald deep in 49ers territory. Rookie Eric Reid recovered, and San Francisco started an 18-play touchdown drive that put the game of reach.

''I know it made Pat feel good to get his feet back out there,'' fellow All-Pro middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman said.

Forcing turnovers is something Willis and the 49ers have been awfully good at lately.

San Francisco has 10 takeaways in the past three games - all wins - that led to 54 points, including four in each of the past two games. The 49ers forced only one turnover in the two previous games - both losses - combined at Seattle and at home against Indianapolis.

The ability to make such game-changing plays is why Willis will continue to play through pain. Coaches also expect him to adjust to his limitations better this week, too.

''You go through two weeks of total inactivity and then you come back to practice with a leg injury that is still lingering there, you don't always have that confidence,'' defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. ''But he played fine, and I think he'll be better this week.''

Working through injuries is nothing new for the native of Bruceton, Tenn., which is about a 90-minute drive west of Nashville. He played three times with a cast on his right hand in college at Mississippi and broke that same hand in a one-on-one blocking drill with fullback Bruce Miller in training camp.

Willis sat out all four preseason games but returned for San Francisco's season-opening win over Green Bay, though he said the hand is still not fully healed. He has missed only six games in his seven-year career, making the Pro Bowl each season.

Willis referenced the same mantra that teammate and defensive lineman Justin Smith often sites when asked why he plays through injuries: ''If you only play this game when you're 100 percent, then you'd never play.''

''You just have to tough it up and get ready to play some football,'' Willis said. ''And that's what I love.''

NOTES: Coaches and players said there were shocked and saddened to hear that team medical director and physician, Dr. Daniel Garza, died at his home Tuesday night. Garza was a leading researcher in concussion and brain-related injuries at Stanford and had worked for the 49ers since 2007. The cause of death has not been announced. ''He was an A-plus doctor and a friend of everyone in the organization. Tremendous individual,'' Fangio said. ... Fifth-round pick Quinton Dial or practice squad player Mike Purcell could be activated as a backup this week if nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (hamstring) can't play, Fangio said. Tony Jerod-Eddie would make his first career start if Dorsey is inactive. ... The team waived WR Chris Harper. He was drafted in the fourth round by Seattle, released by the Seahawks on Aug. 31 and signed by San Francisco on Sept. 2. He has been inactive for every game.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group