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Patrick Willis Keeps Head up in Defeat

Posted Jan 20, 2014

Patrick Willis spoke from the heart after the 49ers season ended in Seattle.

SEATTLE – Patrick Willis would make a great company spokesman some day.

Well, to be perfectly honest, the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker is already saying all the right things on behalf of the San Francisco 49ers.

It doesn’t get more classy than Willis, who walked into the visiting team’s press conference room with red eyes and a shaken up demeanor. The 49ers had a lost 23-17 to their division rival, the Seattle Seahawks, and ultimately lost a chance at reaching consecutive Super Bowls.

Willis summed up the mood of the team after a hard-fought game ended with a late-game interception by Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith.

“We gave everything we had,” said Willis after a 7-tackle performance. “We fought at the beginning of the season when everyone was picking us to go to the Super Bowl. And when we went through that little slump, everybody started writing us off. We just stayed together and continued to fight. That’s what we did tonight.

“It’s unfortunate it didn’t go our way.”

Willis was upset about the loss, but not devastated. The 49ers linebacker was prideful about what his team accomplished in 2013.

“I could sit up here and tell you what you want to hear, tell you that I’m angry or that I’m mad, but I’m not going to do that,” Willis said. “I’m going to look at you and say, ‘It was a heck of a run.’”

San Francisco experienced a pair of two-game losing streaks in the regular season, but the group entered Sunday’s NFC title game having won eight games in a row.

Willis felt the sting of not winning a ninth consecutive game. But he was also respectful in discussing the victorious team.

“It hurts a little bit, but someone has to win, someone has to lose,” Willis said. “Unfortunately we lost today and Seattle did what they had to do to win.”

The star linebacker was equally distraught about the loss of fellow Pro Bowl linebacker NaVorro Bowman to an ACL injury.

“It’s not supposed to be like this, it’s not supposed to happen like this,” said Willis, relaying his thought process when San Francisco’s All-Pro linebacker injured his knee after a goal line tackle on Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. “God has a plan, sometimes we don’t know why things happen the way they do, but we’ll see in due time.

“He’s going to be alright, I know it.”

Willis kept his head up throughout his press conference and will continue to do so entering his eighth offseason in the NFL.

“It’s hard to get here,” Willis said. “It’s hard to win enough games to get into the playoffs. It’s hard once you get into the playoffs to get to the Super Bowl.

“You just realize how hard it is to win. But you know how much more work how much harder you have to fight to make sure when you get the opportunity again that you can take it. That’s all we can do, stay together as a team, go into this offseason head’s up, work, work and work.”

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