The San Francisco 49ers had a surprise visitor at their Santa Clara, Calif., facility in late November when Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson made his way through the building.
Goldson, facing a suspension for a hit on Falcons receiver Roddy White, decided to pay a visit to the team he spent the first six years of his career with.
"I've never seen that before, a player stopping by like that," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "But, it was cool, it was natural. People were glad to see him and he was glad to see guys. Had a chance to see him, give him a hug and talk for a little bit. So, it wasn't a big deal."
It was a very non-Harbaugh answer in that secrecy is taken seriously, especially in dealing with players that are no longer "trusted agents."
No reason for concern that he was doing recon work, Coach?
"Sure that'd be a natural reaction, but it just didn't play out that way," Harbaugh said. "It's just saying, 'Hey, Dashon's here. Hey, I'm going to go say hello to Dashon.' That's the way it took place."
Goldson was selected to a pair of Pro Bowls and named All-Pro during his tenure in San Francisco before chasing the money to Tampa Bay. His contract is a reported $41.5 million and he will collect $9 million this year.
San Francisco wasn't willing to match and opted to replace him through the draft. That player ended up being Eric Reid out of LSU, a player Harbaugh tried to recruit to Stanford, and Reid has turned into one of the top defensive rookies in the NFL.
Goldson will play against the 49ers for the first time Sunday when San Francisco travels to Tampa and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who called Goldson a good friend, will be wary of where he's at.
"(Goldson's) a great player, does a lot of great things," Kaepernick said. "Has a lot of range on the back end."
The Bucaneers are in the process of trying to save coach Greg Schiano's job. After losing their first eight games of the season, the Bucs have won four of five.
SERIES HISTORY: 21st regular-season meeting. 49ers lead series, 16-4. The 49ers haven't won in Tampa since 1993, when they won 45-21. Since then, Tampa has won three-straight at home.
--San Francisco can qualify for the playoffs for a third consecutive season on Sunday if things fall into place as follows: 49ers win against Tampa Bay, Tennessee beats Arizona and either Dallas or Philadelphia loses.
--With the apparent resignation of Texas coach Mack Brown on the horizon, some reports have indicated Texas would be interested in bring Jim Harbaugh to Austin. The coach wanted no part of that discussion Wednesday.
"I don't ever talk about any jobs other than the one I have," he said.
--The 49ers and Seahawks continue to shuttle players back and forth on their respective rosters. The latest movement is San Francisco's signing of guard Ryan Seymour off the Seahawks practice squad.
"Something that our team thought was in our best interest," Harbaugh said. "Our organization, scouting department had their eye on this youngster and just felt like this was the time to add him to our roster."
BY THE NUMBERS: 88 - The 49ers have outscored opponents in the first half by 88 points, which ranks No. 1 in the NFL.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Phenomenal. He's been playing his butt off every time he steps on the field. He's been doing everything right and making things easy on everyone else." -- QB Colin Kaepernick when asked about RT Anthony Davis.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Anquan Boldin ranks tied for first in the NFL with 27 third-down receptions.
--TE Vernon Davis ranks No. 1 in the NFL among tight ends with 16.5 yards per receptions.
--DT Ray McDonald (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, but is expected to play against Tampa Bay.
--DL Justin Smith (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday, but is expected to play against Tampa Bay.
--G Adam Snyder (not injury related) did not practice Wednesday.
--G Mike Iupati (knee) returned to practice Wednesday, but his status against Tampa Bay remains unclear.
--T Joe Staley (knee) was a full participant in practice Wednesday and will play against Tampa Bay.
--Rookie DT Tank Carradine was placed on the injured reserve list and will not make his NFL debut this season.
Defensively, San Francisco must get pressure on rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. Glennon was horrid in a 27-6 win over Buffalo last week, completing just 9-of-25 passes for 90 yards. That type of production won't be good enough against the 49ers. Offensively, the 49ers need to stay the course. QB Colin Kaepernick has improved steadily over the past few weeks with the return of Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree and San Francisco will likely become more dynamic in the coming weeks as those two play their way back into shape.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Buccaneers S Dashon Goldson vs. 49ers S Eric Reid -- San Francisco let Goldson walk in free agency and drafted Reid in the first round to take his place. Safe to say, Goldson has not been missed as Reid has been one of the best defensive rookies in the NFL. They won't be on the field at the same time, but it'll be interesting to compare their impact.
Buccaneers LT Donald Penn vs. 49ers OLB Aldon Smith and DL Justin Smith -- If Glennon is pressed throughout, Tampa won't have a chance, which makes Penn's job dealing with Smith and Smith very important.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Jim Harbaugh
- San Francisco
- Colin Kaepernick