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Rock Solid

Posted Mar 16, 2012

It didn’t take long for Rock Cartwright to feel like a part of the team.

In discussing his future with his new club, the recently signed 49ers running back used the term “we” several times when discussing San Francisco’s prospects for 2012.

Sometimes it takes newcomers at least a full season to feel completely comfortable in their new digs. In this case, it took Cartwright less than 24 hours.

Asked why San Francisco was a prime destination for the 10-year veteran, Cartwright offered up an honest response.

“Just knowing all 11 defensive starters are back here and we were one game away from the Super Bowl, knowing that and knowing the opportunity that’s in front of you, is what made me sign here,” Cartwright said.

Besides being a physically imposing runner between the tackles, the 5-foot-8, 215-pound running back offers the 49ers another standout player on special teams, too.  In 154 career games with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders, Cartwright has returned 231 kicks for 5,450 yards and has added 93 special teams tackles. He’s also carried the ball 228 times for 956 yards with one touchdown.

With much to offer, it’s no surprise the 49ers targeted Cartwright in the first week of the 2012 free agency season, adding the veteran player to their coverage units along with re-signed safety C.J. Spillman and linebacker Tavares Gooden.

“Rock has been a standout special teams contributor, who has also shown versatility at the running back position,” general manager Trent Baalke said in a team-issued release. “He has all of the intangibles that we look for in a 49er.”

Besides position versatility, Cartwright brings savvy leadership.

Coming off two seasons across the Bay with the Oakland? Raiders, Cartwright was twice honored with the team’s Commitment to Excellence award.

Now, he’ll have to move across the Bay to be closer to the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara.

“I love the Bay Area,” Cartwright said. “The move is short, but it’s a great move.  I’m excited about the challenges ahead.”

Being in the same region as the 49ers, Cartwright also kept tabs on what the cross-town team was doing under first-year coach Jim Harbaugh.

“I watched all the 49ers games,” Cartwright said. “Harbaugh did an excellent job. They found a way to get it together real quick and sometimes in the NFL it takes awhile once you get a new head coach and new players. But somehow, some way we got it together and Coach Harbaugh was able to do a great job and I’m sure he’ll do an excellent job this year as well.”

In order to keep up his end of the bargain, Cartwright said he’s looking forward to building camaraderie with his teammates, some of which he already knows from his time in the league.

“We’re just focused on getting in here in the offseason training and get things rolling, get the team camaraderie going and in the right direction,” Cartwright said.

Still, the 31-year-old is focused on something bigger than meeting new teammates.

He wants to win.

“They’re all about winning,” Cartwright said of the 49ers, “and that’s what I’m about. Hopefully we can keep it going in 2012.”

Spoken like a true 49er.

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