Tarell Brown raised his performance in 2012 and expects to continue his ascending play in his seventh season with the San Francisco 49ers.
The veteran cornerback posted a career-high 59 tackles to go along with two interceptions. In the postseason, Brown came up with crucial takeaways. The 49ers cornerback intercepted Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. In Super Bowl XLVII, Brown stripped Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and recovered the fumble to set up a 49ers field goal. It was the only turnover forced by San Francisco's defense in the final game of the season.
Now, Brown enters the final year of his second contract and does so feeling eager to prove himself all over again.
“There are always doubters and people who are naysayers about what you do and what you don’t do,” Brown said at the conclusion of a three-day minicamp. “I really don’t focus on that. The biggest thing for me is to focus on the 49ers in a positive way and represent myself in a positive way and represent my last name.
“That’s something that’s always been important to me and it’s something I live by.”
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound cornerback trained back in his home state of Texas with a personal trainer for most of the offseason, but felt like he was able to comprehend the added coverages to San Francisco’s defense when he returned to minicamp.
“I picked the system up, all the new plays, didn’t have any mental breakdowns,” said Brown, who made the most out the quality reps with teammates, both new and old.
“It was about getting back to football, making the checks, making the reads, making the calls,” Brown continued. “It felt good to be back out with my teammates.”
Minicamp allowed Brown to work with new players on the 49ers roster and the numerous defensive backs competing to start at free safety for departed Pro Bowler, Dashon Goldson.
Brown, a fellow 2007 draft class member along with Goldson, feels like it’s going to take a group effort from the secondary to maintain the level play that allowed San Francisco to win the franchise’s sixth conference championship in 2012.
“Everybody has to bump their level of play by 10 percent,” Brown said. “I think if everybody bumps their level of play, minus the mental errors, the sky is the limit for this secondary and for this team and this defense as well."
Brown said he has confidence in the 49ers depth at safety at looks forward to seeing who emerges in the competition that will be determined in training camp and preseason games. First-round pick Eric Reid, plus veterans Craig Dahl, C.J. Spillman and second-year safety Trenton Robinson are some of the notable contenders.
“You’re losing a Pro Bowl player, but gaining players that can make plays," Brown said of Reid and Dahl. "Everyone has to step up a little bit more and we’ll be fine.”
Besides sharpening his mind and body for his seventh season in the NFL, Brown has continued to give back to his Mesquite, Tex. community. Brown recently held his sixth annual football camp and also celebrated “Tarell Brown Day,” which takes place in Mesquite on June 25.
Much like his budding football career, Brown’s camp continues to improve each year. The camp turned out 400 kids to the football and cheer clinics. Giving back is especially important for the 49ers cornerback who downplayed his celebrity growing in his hometown after single-handedly forcing a turnover in the Super Bowl.
“It’s always good to give back to the community because they’ve supported us through the ups and downs I’ve had with the 49ers,” Brown explained.