Niners Know the Dome
New Orleans — San Francisco defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois made one of his greatest football memories to date in the Superdome, where he won a national championship with LSU against Ohio State in January 2008.
Jean Francois also was voted MVP of that game, an honor that disrupted his celebration after he had climbed into the stands to see his family.
“They had to get a lot of the guys to grab me out of the stands to bring me back down, but it was a good moment when I got a chance to hold that crystal ball and see that confetti,” Jean Francois said.
As it turns out, the 49ers also are staying in the same hotel and using some of the same meeting rooms that LSU used leading up to the Tigers’ BCS triumph.
The memories are not so fond for a couple other 49ers who were in that same title game, but playing for the Buckeyes. “I don’t want to hear it,” linebacker Larry Grant said when asked whether the sight of the Superdome brings back bad memories. “All I’m thinking about is hoisting that Lombardi Trophy in a few days.”
Grant said Jean Francois had not said a word to him about the game recently. “He doesn’t want to bring that up with me,” Grant said. “I might slap him in the face.”
Niners offensive lineman Alex Boone, also a Buckeye back in 2007-08, said he did have some painful memories come back to him when he walked on the field against the Saints earlier this season. The 49ers won that game, 31-21.
“It was a little weird coming back. I just remember thinking about the championship game and I was happy this (past game against New Orleans) went differently,” Boone said. “Hopefully we can have success this Sunday.”
FAREWELL, ALEX?: Alex Smith leaving the San Francisco 49ers after this season is a topic CEO Jed York isn’t ready to address.
York made one thing clear yesterday: Smith hasn’t requested his release after the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick.
Smith certainly hopes to remain a starter somewhere, and that doesn’t seem likely anymore with San Francisco, his only NFL team.
While the 49ers would love to have two winning QBs, York realizes that might not be a realistic luxury as far as Smith is concerned.
“Alex and I started with the 49ers the same year in 2005 and I’ve known Alex for a long time. And that’s part of the overall analysis you do at the end of the season, not just for one player but for everybody,” York said.
“And you figure out what’s best for guys, what’s best for the team, and you figure out. Is there a spot for him on the team from a cap standpoint? Yeah, absolutely there’s a spot for him on the team. From a need standpoint, it’s pretty nice to have two quarterbacks that you feel that you can win with. Is there going to be a demand for a quarterback who’s played as well as he had the last couple years? Yeah.”