Each week, team reporter Lindsey Pallares will sit down with different 49ers players for the team's only player-focused podcast, discussing the upcoming game week and leading players through fan-submitted questions about football, life and everything in between. Linebackers Azeez Al-Shaair and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles joined the 49ers You've Got Mail podcast presented by Manscaped ahead of the team's Week 1 contest against the Chicago Bears.
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Here are the five things we learned about our third-year linebacker duo:
While they both agree there's nothing quite like playing in front of a packed house at Levi's® Stadium, Al-Shaair and Flannigan-Fowles enjoy leaning into the role of the disruptive visiting team when playing on the road.
AA: "I like being the villain. I like going to people's house. I like people booing me. It just fuels my alter ego."
DFF: "I love that. I love spoiling somebody's show, so I like away games. Also though, you can't beat playing in this stadium (Levi's® Stadium) either. I'm good either way."
When asked about their favorite away game city and stadium, Al-Shaair and Flannigan-Fowles picked the same location—Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, LA.
AA: "My rookie year, we played in New Orleans, and it was so loud. It was a crazy game too. Throughout the whole year, because we didn't play them until later on in the season, probably Week 10 or 11, and that game was like 'Whoa!' The dome, the lights are shining—my little brother is a Saints fan, so I would see him watching Drew Brees all the time. Going in there and how loud that stadium is—it's a dome so you hear all the sound bouncing off the wall. You literally can't hear anything."
DFF: "New Orleans for sure. New Orleans was crazy."
Getting the perfect gameday meal routine is not as easy as you might expect, at least according to No. 51. Al-Shaair is strategic about what he's eating before he's got to suit up for a game, and he learned that lesson by trial and error over the years.
AA: "The worst thing I've eaten on a gameday is an Oreo milkshake. I would never regret it because I went out there, and I actually had a good game but I probably shouldn't have had that."
DFF: "I really can't look back at anything and say, 'I shouldn't have eaten that' because I feel like I have to eat anything or else I lose weight."
Watching other football teams outside of game prep isn't for everyone. Flannigan-Fowles couldn't wait to watch the Thursday Night Football game while Al-Shaair opted to pass on watching the Los Angeles Rams welcome in the Buffalo Bills to SoFi Stadium.
AA: "Outside of playing football, I don't like to watch it unless I am studying. Especially right now, I'm going to get all the football I can get for the next 20 weeks so I like to have a little 'me time' for myself when I'm not playing or studying film."
DFF: "It's football, so an NFL game, I think you want to watch it anyway. It's also the first game, so I'll definitely be tuned in regardless if they are a rival or not."
Both Al-Shaair and Flannigan-Fowles unwind by binge-watching a good show on their favorite streaming service. When asked about their rules for watching with a friend or roommate in the event of week-to-week delays, the duo shared a similar approach (it involves leaving your TV friend behind).
AA: "I've been in that situation, and I can say that, more times than not, I've definitely watched the show. You've got to do one of two things—either you can keep it real with them, which I've done, and that can go south…or you have to act surprised and say 'No, I didn't watch this.' You have to make sure you go back to, if it's on Hulu or Netflix or something, you have to go back and rewind it all the way back to zero or else you are screwed."
DFF: "I'm transparent. I'm telling you, 'I'm watching it,' so therefore, it's going to happen."