Nick Bellore Brings Veteran Presence to 49ers Special Teams

Perhaps the best way to understand Nick Bellore as a person is to consider his living situation last year.

Despite owning a set spot on the New York Jets roster as a fourth-year pro and special teams ace, Bellore moved in with placekicker Nick Folk, his wife and twin newborn sons.

Bellore didn't pay rent at the Folk residence, instead earning his keep as a "manny" of sorts. This involved, among other responsibilities, changing dirty diapers.

How's that for the glamorous life of a 20-something male playing in the NFL?

Now with the San Francisco 49ers after signing a two-year deal this offseason, Bellore has his sights set on a new roommate.

"You know what? I think I'm going to start sweet-talking Joe Staley to see if I can sneak into his pool house," Bellore said, smiling. "We'll see how that goes."

View the top photos of all the new San Francisco 49ers players from the team's offseason workouts.

Bellore was kidding of course, but that line does speak to his easy-going demeanor. The linebacker entered the league in 2011 as an undrafted free agent, so he carries no trace of entitlement.

In his four seasons with the Jets, Bellore carved out a role as the team's most reliable tackler on special teams. In 2013, Bellore ranked third in the NFL in special teams tackles with 17. Last year, he tied for seventh with 15 tackles.

Justifiably, Bellore takes great pride in his work in the phase of football that typically generates the least attention.

"That's what has kept me in the league," Bellore said. "I love it. There's not as much gameplanning, it's kind of just who wants to make a play more? I think that's pretty cool.

"It's a very important part of the game, and a lot of people don't realize that. If you can win on special teams, you can usually put yourself in a position to win the game."

Bellore said that it was initially tough to leave the team that gave him his first shot in the NFL, but two familiar faces with the 49ers made the transition much easier.

First, there was Staley, who Bellore has long admired from afar. Both starred collegiately at Central Michigan; Staley turning himself into a first-round draft pick and Bellore earning three consecutive All-Mac First Team honors.

San Francisco has used free agency as an avenue to improve the team over the years.

The two never played together, but they developed a friendship based on their similar path to the pros.

"Joe was leaving Central right as I got there, and we have kept in touch ever since," Bellore said. "He's well-liked and was a great player at Central. There were some decent drafted guys before him, but he kind of set the tone for that program."

The other connection Bellore had with the 49ers was with new special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey Jr., who held the same position with the Jets before coming to San Francisco.

"We talked a little bit. I knew he was here, and I knew he wanted me," Bellore said. "I know what he does, and I thought I could be an asset in that regard. We have a good relationship that we have continued here."

Although Bellore appeared in all 64 games during his Jets tenure, he only accumulated 25 total defensive snaps in that span. This offseason with the 49ers, Bellore received reps at both inside and outside linebacker. He hopes he can be a reliable backup should the team need his services.

"I'll work every day to get that chance," Bellore said. "We're deep at linebacker. You learn all four sports and what the right thing to do is at each spot because you've basically got Pro Bowlers everywhere. I'm excited about the opportunity I have here."

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