Player Feature: Solomon Thomas
Born in Chicago, IL, Thomas moved to Australia where he spent part of his childhood. His father, Chris, was an international sales manager for Proctor & Gamble and was stationed there. Thomas grew up learning to surf and enjoyed playing on the beach and eating fish and chips. He didn't begin playing football until he moved to Coppell, TX.
One of Thomas' two career touchdowns at Stanford happened at Levi's® Stadium, returning a fumble recovery 34 yards for the score in the Cardinal's 41-22 victory over USC in the 2015 Pac12 Championship Game.
Named the 49ers Ed Block Courage Award recipient in 2019. The Ed Block Courage Award is named after Ed Block, the former head athletic trainer of the Baltimore Colts of 23 years. Block was a pioneer in his profession and a respected humanitarian whose most passionate cause was helping children of abuse. The award is presented in his name each year to the player that exemplified a commitment to sportsmanship and courage. Ed Block Courage Award winners from each of the 32 NFL teams are honored at a banquet in Baltimore, MD.
Each year, Thomas participates in the Out of Darkness walk to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "I lost one of the most important people in my world to suicide," said Thomas. "I will be walking for her and for everyone who suffers from the pain she felt. Ella was my sister. Ella was my best friend. She loved harder than she could breathe. She filled a room with such a strong presence that it would light up the room. She made my life go. Having Ella as my sister was the greatest gift this life has given me. She taught me to be myself, to make everyone feel loved, to appreciate everything in front of me, and so much more. She was so perceptive and so compassionate. I will live every day for my amazing sister."
Read more about Solomon Thomas by clicking his bio below.
Coach's Corner: Robert Saleh
This month's "Coach's Corner" is an interview with 49ers Defensive Coordinator, Robert Saleh.
After a successful campaign in 2019, how do you plan to get even better in 2020?
The main focus for the defensive side of the ball, and I imagine it's the same for the entire team, is to always look for ways to get a little bit better every single day. Not looking at the end result as the barometer on whether or not you're improving, but looking at it on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis. You have to ask yourself, are you as an individual finding ways to get better every single day. If you are, we trust that the results will be better, but you can't have better results unless you focus on the moment. The message that Kyle and John preach day-in and day-out doesn't change, we focus on the moment, we focus on today, we do the best we possibly can and we trust that the result will be what we want.
What can second-year players like Nick Bosa and Dre Greenlaw do to take their games to the next level?
Same thing as everyone else. They really have to understand that what happened yesterday has no bearing on what is actually going to happen tomorrow. They have to focus on finding ways to get better every single day. There's an "I got it" mentality that second-year players usually have and for them to stay focused and understand that just because you had success in year one, doesn't mean you're going to have success in year two. You have to put in the same amount of work, if not more, and you have to continually find ways to evolve as a player or those around the NFL watching your tape will be able to catch up.
How are the pass rush and pass coverage intertwined on a defense?
They go hand-in-hand. We always talk about rush and coverage. I look at some of our plays from a year ago and there are somewhere the coverage broke down, but the rush stayed disciplined and vice versa. For example, there'd be a guy running wide open, but the rush got home in time where the quarterback couldn't find that open receiver. On the flip side, there were times when the rush got stopped by the offensive line, but the coverage did such a good job in the back end keeping everything up that the quarterback had nowhere to throw and eventually the pocket collapsed on him. So, we always talk about rush and coverage together. Ideally, it's always a perfect rush with perfect coverage and the quarterback just can't breathe, but it doesn't always work that way. Because of that, those guys are always counting on one another. The D-line is counting on the coverage to cover so they have time to get to the quarterback and the coverage guys are counting on the rush guys to get to the quarterback so they don't have to cover for so long. Without question, the two go hand-in-hand.
Javon Kinlaw expressed his excitement to be in the system with this team. How do you picture him fitting in?
I'm excited for him. He's coming into a good situation where he has Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, Bosa, D.J. Jones, Solomon Thomas and we got Kerry Hyder in free agency. He just needs to understand that he doesn't need to be DeForest Buckner. He just needs to do his best and lean on the veterans for guidance, lean on his coaches to do things the right way from a technique standpoint, and just trust that if he continually finds ways to get better, he's going to be great. We're not looking for him to replace Buck. We're looking for him to add to the quality of the overall depth of the defensive line.
How important has the addition of Richard Sherman been to your defense over the past few years?
Sherm is awesome. I don't think people really see him. I mean, they see what they see in the media, but they don't see the type of teammate, man, and person that he is. They don't get to see how much he invests in his teammates, in the organization, his coaches. Whenever you have a pro who plays at the level he does but then also conducts himself the way he does with his work ethic and his personality, it's always a home run, and he's one of those guys that does both extremely well.
In what ways would you like to see your young linebacking group continue to grow this season?
They have to find ways to strain themselves along with their position coach and myself. We have to find ways to continue to make things uncomfortable every single day. There's tape from last year with two or three plays for each of those guys to find where they can get even better. Whether it's that they've got their hands on the football but dropped it, next time they'll pick it off. Maybe there's a time where they could have taken a shot at a ball carrier trying to create a forced fumble. There's assignments, alignments, they can continually find ways to get better and make the game easier on themselves. The challenge for them is to do it every single day and find different ways to evolve as players so they can get better and faster.
To read more about Coach Saleh, click the bio below.
WON of Us: Mary
Mary Starks has taken the reins as the biggest 49ers fan in her community since the passing of her godfather, a diehard 49ers fan.
I became a 49ers fan in 1980. My godfather was a diehard 49ers fan originally from Fresno. Even after he moved to the Los Angeles area, his faith for the 49ers never wavered. He was so passionate about his love for this team. I was an athlete myself and loved sports so I naturally gravitated toward people who appreciated sports and he loved that I, as a female, wanted to watch sports. So many times I'd be the only girl in the room watching the game, but it didn't matter, that was the foundation of my 49ers fandom. In 2007, my godfather passed away, but I vowed to carry on the torch of the biggest 49ers fan in our community and even take it to the next level. The foundation that my godfather laid as a fan is what made me the Faithful that I am. It doesn't matter what the team's record is, I'll be in the stands cheering for my squad!
What do you love about WON?
It's awesome and I wish that I lived closer so that I could attend more of the events! I get all of the messages about the awesome events and if we could get a few more in the Los Angeles area, I would be at all of them! When I first signed up for the club, I was so excited to get my member kit in the mail and it was a phenomenal way to be welcomed to WON.
Get to know WON member Mary.
Was there one inspirational moment in team history that confirmed your 49ers fandom?
Dwight Clark. The. Catch. I recall being pretty young sitting on the couch with my godfather and seeing his excitement. It was only my second year watching the team regularly but I knew that this was a special moment. Little did I know how pivotal that play and that game would be for the organization
What 49ers tradition or superstition do you/your family have?
Last season, I added a new tradition as I found these cool beaded 49ers bracelets in the 49ers Team Store on one of my trips up to Levi's® Stadium. I started wearing them for every game and started getting more to share with more folks that I sit with during games. But if someone that I gave a bracelet to didn't wear the one I gave them and the team didn't play well or lost…let's just say I knew exactly who to blame.
What impact has the 49ers had on your life?
I've been a 49ers fan for some time now, but the biggest impact that the team has had on my life was in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, I lost my best friend, and then in 2012, my mother passed. Those were the biggest losses I had ever had to endure. I've been in my career for over 30 years but after both of those, I wasn't sure that I could continue. I had lost some passion, but the one consistent thing was my 49ers. It took some time but on gamedays, my passion would rekindle and my personality would start to come alive again. I remember watching a 49ers game in 2012 and we were winning and the network switched to another game. I was so upset that I started yelling at the TV and my friend who was watching the game with me looked at me and said, "She's back!" And they were right, the team had helped me dig myself out of that hole and find real emotion again. I returned to work and made a bigger impact in the community than I had ever done before. I thank those special teams at the beginning of the decade for helping me through that difficult time and they even rewarded us with an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII.
49ers Encourage Voter Registration
The San Francisco 49ers are teaming up with "I am a Voter" to encourage others to register to vote and to show up on Election Day. Just like we show up to every single game to give it our all, it's important that we all also show up and vote. Register with us today to make sure your vote counts by texting 49ERSto 26797 or visit: www.iamavoter.com.
Hunger Action Month
September is Hunger Action Month, and we're kicking it off by debuting Raising Gallons on Tuesday, September 1 to help get milk to those in need! This video shows the dairy community and its partners literally raising gallons in support of efforts to nourish communities. You might notice some recognizable faces like Sourdough Sam!
You can make a difference by raising gallons with us throughout September. Use #UndeniablyDairy and show your support by raising a gallon of milk. Visit milklife.com/give to learn how you can help get milk to those who need it most in your community. For every donation, MilkPEP will match up to $100,000 on GiveAGallon.com.
Save the Dates:
WON Season Preview Virtual Happy Hour
We hope that you can join us for the WON Season Preview Virtual Happy Hour on Wednesday, September 9th from 6 PM - 8 PM. You're invited to an evening of season preview conversations from the organization, the media, and the fan base. Pre-registered viewers will also be entered into a raffle for prizes that will be shipped to winners following the event.
Hosted by 49ers own Senior Reporter, Keiana Martin, the evening includes a behind the scenes look at the organization's new brand campaign with Director, Brand Marketing, Allie Dicken, an on-field preview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Laura Britt and NFL Network's MJ Acosta, and concludes with an interview with 49ers fan and rapper, Saweetie.
To be a part of this first of its kind event, register through the button below. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to sign-up quickly to reserve your spot. All registered attendees will receive additional event details on or before Friday, September 4.
Register for the event here.
49ers Foundation's Kickoff: Players for a Purpose event presented by SAP
The 49ers Foundation's annual kickoff to the season is going virtual! Players for a Purpose will take place on Tuesday, September 1st. Fan club members receive FREE access to this event with the access code FREEKICKOFF and can purchase additional event add-on's starting at $49. From a live auction where you can bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences to playing a game of Pictionary with your favorite players, this virtual event will be one you won't want to miss! All proceeds from the event will go towards the 49ers Foundation and their mission to educate and empower Bay Area youth. To learn more, visit 49ers.com/kickoff.
This Month in 49ers History
Sept. 5, 1994
Jerry Rice scored his 127th career touchdown to surpass Jim Brown as the NFL's all-time touchdown king. Rice nabbed two scoring passes from quarterback Steve Young and scampered 23 yards on a reverse for another six-pointer as the 49ers throttled the Los Angeles Raiders 44-14. Rice and Young were removed from the game in the fourth quarter, but coach George Seifert agreed to let them return to the field so Rice could set the record on Monday Night Football. Young then connected with Rice on a 38-yard scoring dart to set the mark. Rice made 206 trips to the end zone during his 49ers career.