Darnell Dockett Explains Decision to Join 49ers

In 11 seasons, the veteran defensive tackle has amassed 40.5 career sacks and three Pro Bowl selections.

For more than a decade, Darnell Dockett was a thorn in the San Francisco 49ers side.

In 20 career games against the 49ers, the longtime Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher recorded 32 tackles and seven sacks, both personal bests versus any team.

Dockett also publically embraced the NFC West rivalry on several well-documented occasions.

So was it difficult for Dockett, released by Arizona on Feb. 27, to put past feelings aside when the 49ers began showing interest?

"At first it was," Dockett told Fox Sports 910 in Arizona. "Especially when you look at all the rivalry games over the years battling against those guys. But they were the team that came at me. I appreciate the fact that they wanted me there. They made an effort, and they showed me much love."

Dockett officially crossed enemy lines for good on Thursday when he and the 49ers agreed to terms on a two-year deal.

"My time in Arizona is over, and now it's time for me to take my work ethic, my heart and my passion to another team," Dockett said. "And unfortunately for them, it's for a rivalry team. Now it's all business. I'm coming to win."

On Tuesday, former rugby league star and new 49ers running back Jarryd Hayne told reporters that Jim Tomsula played a significant role in his decision to sign with San Francisco. Dockett offered similar remarks when asked why he chose the 49ers over other suitors.

"For me, the head coach is a defensive line coach, and people fail to realize, man, this guy is awesome," Dockett said. "After every game I played against San Francisco, he was one of the guys who always came over and we talked it up. He admired my game and admired what I bring to the table."

Dockett, who missed a total of two games in 10 NFL seasons before sitting out last year with an ACL injury, appreciated the respect and excitement shown to him by his new 49ers teammates as well.

"When the players got word that I was coming on a visit, I got text messages and calls from all the big name guys on that team and even the guys who are trying to make a name for themselves," Dockett said. "They wanted me to come. It was about feeling like you're wanted."

Colin Kaepernick was likely one of those players who reached out to Dockett. Back in August when Dockett suffered his knee injury, Kaepernick posted an Instagram message offering words of support. Then, when the signing became official on Thursday, Kaepernick was one of the first to welcome Dockett to the Bay Area.

So while it may take the Faithful some time to get used to Dockett in red and gold, the veteran wasted no time firmly announcing his change of allegiance.

"All I can say for San Fran is that they won the lottery," Dockett said. "The biggest thing is I get to play Arizona two times a year, so you know what time it is."

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