By Tom Krasniqi
Anytime you go against your former team, it’s not just any other game. Last week, Bucs kicker Rian Lindell admitted it was a strange feeling when he faced the Bills. This week, Bucs safety Dashon Goldson is going through those same emotions.
For six years, Goldson roamed the San Francisco 49ers secondary and became one of the premier safeties in the NFL. Along the way, he was a two-time Pro Bowler and was named an All-Pro in 2012.
When free agency came after last season, the Niners let Goldson walk. The Bucs were more than happy to sign him as they made the man they call “The Hawk” the highest paid safety in the game to the tune of 5 years and $41.25 million with $22 million in guaranteed money. Head coach Greg Schiano believes it was money well spent.
“In my opinion, he’s definitely worth the investment,’’ Schiano said after Thursday’s practice. “Yeah, I’d do it over again in a heartbeat.’’
While some say Goldson hasn’t been living up to the contract thus far, Schiano points to the intangibles that Goldson brings to the table—namely his leadership abilities. When Goldson talks, other players listen. Even star cornerback Darrelle Revis.
“When I used to play for the Jets and he played for the 49ers, you hear about guys around the league and he was a guy I always paid attention to,” Revis said on Thursday when asked about Goldson. Revis says the biggest trait Goldson brought to the Bucs was his leadership.
On Sunday, Goldson gets to face his former team for the first time since leaving as a free agent. Goldson says he has no regrets about leaving San Francisco for Tampa Bay.
“I don’t regret my decision to come here at all. I think I’m in a great place,” Goldson told reporters on Thursday. “I’m happy to be here.”
Bucs coaches and players have been picking Goldson’s brain all week for insight into his former club. That intel has proven to be valuable.
“He’s been giving us everything,” Revis said. “He’s been spilling the beans. We definitely appreciate that. We want to get his win for Dashon.”
As for the emotional aspect of it, this won’t be just another game for Goldson. What kind of feelings will he have on Sunday?
“I'm trying to keep my composure. I know there's a lot behind everybody asking me about being there, but I'm just looking at it as another football game,” Goldson said. “I understand that's where I spent the last six years, but it's just another team that we've got to play, at the end of the day, and that's the way I'm trying to keep it."
As far as the Thursday injury report for the Bucs, Schiano said that WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring), C Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder) and DE Da’Quan Bowers (knee) were limited. The rest of the bunch turned in full practices—RG Davin Joseph (shoulder), DE William Gholston (head), DT Gary Gibson (calf), LB LaVonte David (back) and DT Akeem Spence (wrist). LG Carl Nicks (foot) didn’t practice.
News & Notes:
- Bucs CB Darrelle Revis believes that Niners WR Michael Crabtree doesn’t look 100% healthy: “No he doesn’t. Sometimes, you can see him favor that Achilles.” Revis has never faced the Niners before.
- Bucs LB Mason Foster says the Niners are a finesse team by any means: “They’re gonna try and come in and punch you right in the mouth.”
- Bucs DT Gerald McCoy is the highest rated defensive tackle in the league according to Pro Football Focus (53.4).
- Bucs LB LaVonte David is the only player in the NFL with 100+ tackles (107), 5+ sacks (6), and 5 INTs. He’s the first linebacker in NFL history to record 6 sacks and 5 interceptions in the same season. He should be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year honors.
- Speaking of highly rated players, Bucs CB Darrelle Revis has the highest rating of any corner in the league by Pro Football Focus (18.1).
- Fans can go to NFL.com to vote for their favorite Bucs to the Pro Bowl. Voting ends on December 26th.
- This Sunday, the 4-9 Bucs welcome in the 9-4 San Francisco 49ers to Raymond James Stadium. The game is a complete sellout. You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 9am with Countdown to Kickoff.
- For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage. Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the latest news and audio clips.