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Looney's Blog: Welcome to the NFL

Posted Jun 8, 2012

Among the past players to be spolighted in the 49ers.com rookie blog are Pro Bowler Joe Staley and last year’s featured newcomer Kendall Hunter. This season, we’ll be joining fourth-round pick Joe Looney, a guard out of Wake Forest, as he goes through his rookie season with the 49ers. Though he has been sidelined with a foot injury so far this offseason, Looney is learning plenty about the playbook and what it takes to succeed at the NFL level. In his first entry of 2012, Looney introduces himself to the 49ers Faithful and takes a look ahead at what’s to come.

My name is Joe Looney and I played ball at Wake Forest University. I grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla., my whole life and my mom and dad have been married for 32 years. I have two older sisters and one younger brother, James, who is getting ready to go to school for football. He has a couple of offer letters on the table from schools like Marshall, Wake Forest and West Virginia, so he has some options. Growing up, my dad was the little league coach for me and my brother.

I studied history in college with a focus on World War II. I actually wrote my thesis on Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry and his expedition to Japan, so I learned a lot about the Pacific-side of World War II.  At the combine, Coach Harbaugh and I made a quick connection because he’s also interested in the history of World War II and we chatted about that for a little bit.

When I was drafted in the fourth round by the 49ers, I was at home with my parents and my three siblings and we were just clowning around and cracking jokes like we always do. Then I got that phone call from Coach and he told me they were getting ready to draft me and it was one of the most exciting times of my life. I think my parents were extremely happy, especially my dad. He spent so much time and effort helping me play football and for him to have a son make it all the way was awesome.

I was also very lucky to work with Jeremy Newberry at Competitive Edge Sports in Atlanta when I was training for the combine. He was a tough guy who was very hard on us, but I also had another Wake teammate Michael Hoag there with me. Jeremy spent a lot of time with us out on the field giving us technique pointers and showing the new protections we were going to learn and it helped a ton.

He was really excited for me to get drafted here. For him to play here and then for me to come here, he was real happy about it. I got to talk to him recently and he said he wants to have me over for dinner some time.

I’ve really enjoyed my first few weeks here. I can remember the first day of rookie minicamp when Coach Harbaugh came in there and talked to us. He told us how competitive the NFL is, how tough it was going to be on us and to give it our all every day in every drill – give everything you’ve got. I remember him talking about having “creative destruction” and just going all out and leaving it out there.

It’s been tough not being out there on the practice fields with my teammates, but I’ve been lucky to be learning a lot from Chase Beeler on the sidelines. He knows the playbook exceptionally well and he’s been giving me pointers, telling me how to take steps and the proper footwork we need for each call. It’s been great for me to have him by my side and see the game through his eyes as well and how to make the calls.

Mike Solari and Tim Drevno are great coaches who are doing a great job. Both of them are very energetic about what they do every day, they always come into work with a smile on their face and they want the same for us. They want us to have a good time with this, because we’re doing something that we love to do.

As far as the veterans on the o-line, all of them have been great to me. Big Mike Iupati is a great dude. Actually, the first day we met the vets, Joe Staley made me sing a song in the meeting room which was pretty funny. I sang “Evil Angel” by Breaking Benjamin. It’s all fun and games; these guys have been great. When we need help with something, they take us under their wings.

I really love every type of music. I got into country music living in North Carolina because one of my good friends, Ryan Britt, is from Texas and I used to ride around in his car a lot to practice and he really got me into it. But I’ll pretty much listen to everything.

I also love going to the movies and just kind of hanging out and relaxing. I love the Lord, that’s one of the first things in my life. I was part of Athletes in Action at Wake Forest – that’s our Christian ministry on campus – for three and a half years and that was always important to me.

Even though I don’t have a car out here yet, I’ve been able to see a little bit of the Bay Area. My aunt and my uncle took me out to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and then they took me out Oakland to ride around the lake. We also went on the Bay Bridge, which was cool because you only see that in the movies. I had a great time with them, seeing the sights and eating some food.

I’ll definitely be keeping this blog updated throughout training camp and the season, thanks a lot for your support. I’m really excited about 2012 and I’m ready to get rocking and rolling.

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