SANTA CLARA (CBS / AP) — Apparently not everything on Twitter is true.
Just ask Dashon Goldson.
After tweeting goodbye to the only NFL franchise he has ever known, Goldson was back and a full participant in San Francisco 49ers training camp for the first time Wednesday in a scene that seemed unlikely just days prior.
“It was definitely frustrating,” Goldson said. “At the end of the day, I’m a football player. I never thought I was going to see this side of the business—and it is a business. I got a grasp of that a couple weeks ago. There was a lot of upside here. This is home.”
The Niners certainly seemed ready to part ways with their starting free safety.
Last week, San Francisco signed safeties Madieu Williams and Donte Whitner—and Goldson wasn’t shy then about offering his opinion. He took to Twitter and wrote that the 49ers were “trying to scare me” and “it didn’t work,” saying farewell to 49ers fans.
In a matter of days, Goldson turned down other offers—he said a contract was in place from the New England Patriots for a similar one-year deal—to stay in the Bay Area, where he has played the past four seasons. Even some of his new teammates were a bit stunned at Goldson’s original comments.
“It was surprising,” Whitner said. “Because if you look at it, I’m not a guy who usually plays free safety. They brought me here to play strong safety. I talked to all the defensive coaches and coach (Jim) Harbaugh and they all wanted me to play strong safety. So I don’t know if he was informed of that or not.”
The sudden shift has given way to newfound depth in the secondary.
Bringing back Goldson gives Harbaugh some experienced options in what is shaping up as a secondary that also includes safety Reggie Smith. Whitner is expected to be the strong safety.
San Francisco also added cornerback Carlos Rogers as the likely successor to Nate Clements, who started all 16 games at right cornerback last season but was released at the start of training camp. The 26-year-old Goldson—a fourth-round draft pick out of Washington in 2007 — now fills out the rotation.
And that’s one less thing for a new coaching staff to worry about.
“I know I’m much more happy with our safety position right now than I was the last time I stood before you guys,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “We’ve picked up a few guys and we’ve got good competition back there, and he’ll be part of that competition.”
Goldson finished with 80 tackles, one sack and an interception in 2010. He has started 32 games over the past two seasons, and the Niners are hoping for big things out of him before signing him to a long-term deal.
The 49ers open the preseason at New Orleans on Friday night, and even though it’s just an exhibition, the defense couldn’t be happier to have another veteran defender against Drew Brees and the Saints’ high-scoring offense.
“I’m glad that he’s back,” Whitner said. “We’re going to still work on him getting caught up and getting the calls. And once it’s all said and done, I think we’ll have a pretty good tandem in the secondary.”
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