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Patrick Willis Sets Offseason Standard

Posted Apr 15, 2013

Patrick Willis continues to lead the 49ers by example.

As a team leader, the example starts with Patrick Willis.

To that point, the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker continues to be at the forefront of the San Francisco 49ers offseason strength program.

Year after year, the All-Pro defensive star remains a consistent attendee of the team’s offseason workouts.

Monday, the first day of 2013 workouts, was no different.

“Today was a fun day in the sense of being back out there with the guys,” Willis said after a morning workout at 49ers headquarters led by strength coach Mark Uyeyama. “When we get back here it’s time to work, we all know that. That’s what helped us to be able to succeed, knowing that when it’s time to work, it’s time to work.”

Willis was joined by newcomers to San Francisco’s roster and several difference-makers on last year’s NFC Championship squad.

The 49ers inside linebacker enjoyed being around his teammates, new and old, but also appreciated being reunited with Uyeyama.

“Uey is the best guy in the business when it comes to strength and conditioning,” Willis said. “He knows each one of us by heart. He knows what works for us and what works for us as a group. It’s phenomenal.”

Veterans like Willis are able to train wherever they chose in the offseason, but truly enjoy the challenging workouts held at the team’s Santa Clara facility.

“It’s voluntary but what makes it great is seeing a lot of your top guys, a lot of guys who are contributing in a big way here,” Willis detailed. “When you see that you know it’s something special.”

Willis also feels like veteran presence in the offseason program sets the standard for up-and-coming players on the roster.

Seeing the Pro Bowlers at the facility mid-April lets everyone know how offseason training translates to in-season success.

“They know how much it means to us,” Willis said.

With leaders like Willis in place, the 49ers have the perfect players to carry out Jim Harbaugh’s vision for the team. The 49ers coach wants his players to improve every day and not stay satisfied with previous results.

“We’re not about maintaining," the star linebacker said, sounding very much like his head coach. "Each day we want to be better than we were before.

“You saw it in the weight room today, seeing how some of the guys were putting up some of the weight they were pushing,” Willis continued. “I know tomorrow, guys will want to be better tomorrow than they were today.”

In Willis’ mind, that continued mentality will help San Francisco’s quest to win a sixth Super Bowl title. Instead of feeling down about last year’s Super Bowl XLVII defeat, leaders like Willis are pushing others to build on a successful season.

“We’re not satisfied by a long stretch,” Willis said. “Our goal is to bring a championship back here. Last year we were close but we didn’t get it done, this year we have to put in that much more effort to bring it back.”

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