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49ers Ponder Wearing Sleeves on Sunday

Posted Jan 2, 2014

It sounds like just about every player on the 49ers will wear sleeves for what figures to be the coldest game in team history.

Alex Boone might be all alone on Sunday.

Boone, the only offensive or defensive player to play every snap in the regular season for the 49ers, could be the only member of the team to go sleeveless in Sunday’s Wild Card matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

The latest weather reports show a high of 3 degrees in Green Bay, Wis.

Boone said he still plans on donning his normal gameday clothes for what expects to be one of the coldest playoff games in NFL history.

So how rare is it to find an NFL player willing to play without sleeves in the coldest game of the year?

Even Justin Smith wouldn’t commit to going sans sleeves for the postseason opener.

“You’re not going to have an advantage by having no sleeves on,” Smith said on Thursday. “You’re not going to scare the opponent. He may call you a ‘dumbass’ or something, but there’s no tough guy stuff or anything. It’s see if you’re comfortable and go from there.”

Smith, the 13-year pro who played the first seven years of his career in the AFC North, estimated he’s only worn sleeves “once or twice” in his respected career.

Other veterans like center Jonathan Goodwin have no issue letting it be known that they’ll be wearing long sleeves for the Packers game.

“I have no problem wearing sleeves for this game,” Goodwin, a 12-year pro said. “I think it’s safe to say you’ll see something on my arms. I gave up on the, ‘Don’t wear sleeves to look tough’ thing a long time ago.”

Smith maintained that he’ll evaluate the weather before Sunday’s 1:40 p.m. PT kick-off to determine whether or not he’ll need extra layers or gloves on his hands.

“If it’s cold enough I will,” said Smith, who typically tapes his fingers instead of wearing gloves. “I haven’t stuck my hand in the freezer yet, we’ll see what it is.”

In Smith’s mind, everyone on the field will have to deal with the weather. It won’t benefit one side more than the other.

“Everybody is going to be out there in it,” Smith reasoned. “I don’t think anybody is going to have an advantage or disadvantage at that point.”

All that matters is testing out the field before the game and deciding what cleats to wear and how many layers to put on.

“I’m not a big superstition guy or a ritual guy,” Smith said. “I usually just go check out the field and see what it’s like, stretch a little bit either outside or inside and then come out for pregame.

“I’m sure I’ll go check out the field, see how hard it is, see what kind of cleats you need and go from there.”

Smith’s decisions will influence his younger teammates.

Second-year defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie said he’ll be monitoring Smith’s choice on long sleeves or not.

“If ‘Cowboy’ don’t, I won’t,” Jerod-Eddie said. “I’ll just layer up.”

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