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1. Two Winning Teams = A Rivalry
The San Francisco 49ers rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks is very much a topic of offseason discussion. Joe Staley knows this all too well. The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker was asked about the recent back-and-forth competitions between the NFC West clubs in an exclusive interview with The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer.
"If neither team was winning, there wouldn't be a rivalry and no one would care about watching," Willis said of the recent battles between the last two NFC Champions.
Fair point. Willis covered many topics in his conversation with Iyer. Here's a quick summary of the most striking comments:
-Willis said he's looking forward to his eighth NFL season more than any other year of his career.
-Willis said he's confident in the replacements brought in by the 49ers in free agency. He enjoyed his time playing with Donte Whitner, Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, but the 49ers linebacker understands the business side of the game. "You try not to think about it," Willis said. "It's part of the game. You just try to control what you can, your work ethic, how you conduct yourself. Everything else, you just let play out."
-Willis said he's texting NaVorro Bowman to encourage his close friend as he rehabs his torn ACL. "I have complete faith in his rehab, both with his mental and physical capacity."
-Willis isn't upset about how the last three seasons ended. If anything, he's more motivated for the upcoming year. "I don't want to complain about getting close, because we're still fortunate to get into the playoffs."
>>Rare photos of Willis from the 2013 season.
>>Willis recently recived a birthday invite from a six-year-old fan.
- Third Free Agent Could Be No. 3 WRSan Francisco hasn't signed a ton of free agents this offseason.
They've signed three: Antoine Bethea, Chris Cook and now Brandon Lloyd.
Lloyd, 32, joins the 49ers to compete for the team's No. 3 wide receiver role. San Francisco's former fourth-round draft pick in 2005 returns to the Bay Area after sitting out of football in 2013. Lloyd reportedly had interested teams last season but elected to not play. It's not yet known if Lloyd will join his teammates for the start of the team's voluntary offseason program starting on April 21.
>>Lloyd's signing won't change San Francisco's draft interests. According to reports, Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson was one of many pre-draft visitors at 49ers headquarters. 3. Around the League
>>Per NFL.com, the Baltimore Ravens are reportedly offering nose tackle Haloti Ngata a lucrative long-term contract.
>>Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning told ESPN.com he thinks second-year running back Montee Ball can become the team's starting running back in 2014. The 49ers will face the Broncos on the road in the 2014 regular season.
>>New Lions wide reciever Golden Tate told DetroitLions.com that the Lions offense will fit him better than the system he ran with the Seattle Seahawks.