Bucs S Goldson gears up for former 49ers team

Dashon Goldson dropped by San Francisco team headquarters a few

weeks back and nobody thought it too strange, even now that he

plays for the Buccaneers and his former 49ers travel to Tampa Bay

this weekend.

The veteran safety was serving a one-game suspension at the time

and in the Bay Area to see his doctor and chiropractor for a body

tuneup before returning to the field following the Week 12 penalty

for a helmet-to-helmet hit.

”I’ve never seen that before, a player stopping by like that.

But, it was cool, it was natural,” coach Jim Harbaugh said

Wednesday. ”People were glad to see him and he was glad to see

guys. Had a chance to see him, give him a hug and talk for a little

bit. So, it wasn’t a big deal.”

Despite his fresh start and new big-money contract, Goldson

still has plenty of close connections with the 49ers.

”Being there, I understand their personnel and who I’m dealing

with here on Sunday,” Goldson said.

He has gone from winning on a one-year deal with San Francisco

to that multiyear commitment he long coveted, across the country

with the losing Buccaneers.

A tough tradeoff at times, indeed. Yet the veteran safety

believes the Bucs can build their young team into a contender much

the way the 49ers have recently, capped by last season’s return to

the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years.

When the 49ers (9-4) take the field in Tampa on Sunday, they

will see that familiar face and hard-hitting defender in the Bucs

secondary. Goldson is determined to do his best to disrupt Colin

Kaepernick, Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree in the

passing game.

”Of course, I look forward to every Sunday. I’m not looking at

it like that,” he said. ”I’m sure my emotions will be flying come

Sunday. Right now I’m just trying to get the game plan down and

focus on what I have to do.”

Goldson landed a $41.25 million, five-year contract with the

Bucs during free agency last March.

After losing the Super Bowl 34-31 to Baltimore, Harbaugh

announced he would make it a priority to re-sign Goldson – and the

defender thought he more than deserved to play on a lengthy

contract.

”He has been a great addition not only from a schematic

standpoint, but his leadership and attitude,” Bucs coach Greg

Schiano said. ”All those things are a great addition. He’s a big

part of our defense.”

The 29-year-old Goldson played on one-year contracts the past

two seasons, including the 2012 franchise tag of $6.2 million, and

made it clear he was ”not for that” again. He had 69 tackles,

three interceptions and a forced fumble last year.

Many others on the San Francisco defense have received long-term

deals, and the 49ers selected Eric Reid in the first round of this

year’s draft to replace Goldson and he has made an immediate impact

as a hard hitter like Goldson, with three interceptions and 61

tackles while dealing with a pair of concussions.

No hard feelings on Goldson’s part.

”He’s really good, a raw talent,” Goldson said. ”They’re

going to be good for years to come. He’s got to stay healthy.”

Goldson’s former teammates are cheering him from afar – aside

from this Sunday, that is – and thrilled he landed that large

contract at last.

”Dashon and I, we came in together,” linebacker Patrick Willis

said. ”We kind of grew in this league together, so he’ll always be

close to me and dear to me as a teammate. I know him like a

brother. But we’re very fortunate to have Eric and all the things

he’s brought to this team.”

When Goldson stopped by last month, he only felt slightly out of

place.

”I know somebody made a remark that was kind of absurd.

Whatever. … He was asking, I don’t remember who it was, `What you

doing, spying on us?”’ Goldson said. ”I thought that was

ridiculous. It was coming from a room I walked in.”

Kaepernick certainly knows what’s coming with Goldson on the

other side.

”Dashon’s a great player, does a lot of great things, has a lot

of range on the back end,” Kaepernick said. ”One of my good

friends.”

Notes: LG Mike Iupati returned to practice as Harbaugh expected,

though his status is still unclear for Sunday. He has missed the

past three games with a sprained left knee. … Kaepernick traded

jerseys with former teammate and current Seahawks WR Ricardo

Lockette on Sunday. ”First time,” Kaepernick said. ”He’s a good

friend. Wanted to keep that as memento.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org