New Orleans, La. - The San Francisco 49ers arrived in New Orleans Monday evening, just two months after defeating the Saints in the Superdome on November 25.
The recent success gives the players a nice familiarity of the Dome. But no one on the team is more familiar than center Jonathan Goodwin, who played five seasons with the Saints before leaving for the Bay Area in 2011. Now he returns to the city he called home for the second Super Bowl of his career.
He addressed news media upon his arrival and the following is a copy of that conversation, as transcribed by the NFL:
(on what he remembers from the last time the San Francisco 49ers were in the Super Bowl) "I remember it pretty well. I was a 49er fan growing up. Steve Young got the Super Bowl ring so that's the main thing that stands out to me. Back then, that's when each and every year they had a shot of going to the Super Bowl. A great team and a great group of players. Hats off to them."
(on how long it has taken the 49ers to get back to the Super Bowl) "This league is a tough league and it changes from year to year and every team gets better. I'm not going to say I'm surprised but I'm glad it's happening."
(on playing in the Super Bowl for a team he was a fan of as a kid) "You get to go to the Super Bowl with your childhood team, so that's something that's special to me. Hopefully I can find a way to win the Super Bowl with my childhood team."
(on leaving New Orleans as a Saints player) "Definitely one of the toughest decisions of my life. I really loved being here. I love the city of New Orleans. Even that day on, I changed my mind twice. It was definitely a really tough decision. I had to do the same thing when I came to New Orleans; I had to take a leap of faith. Fortunately, up until this point it has worked out."
(on making the decision to go to the San Francisco 49ers after the lockout) "I flew out there with my wife. I was at one of their practices and I went out to eat with Coach Harbaugh and Greg Roman. That night I decided I was going to come and in the morning I changed my mind. Then on my way to the airport to fly back to New Orleans, I ended up changing my mind again."
(on why he decided to go to San Francisco) "Being a guy that was over 30 the contract offered me more security long term. I didn't want to get into the movement every year."
(on talking to Coach Jim Harbaugh about being in a Super Bowl) "I just told him it's an unbelievable feeling, a feeling that's hard to put into words. Winning the NFC Championship is great, but winning the Super Bowl is probably a 100 times better. I shared that we want to come down here and it's a business trip, not necessarily to have fun. It's to win a football game. We have to be able to stay focused throughout the week and try to accomplish the goal we said we wanted to do in training camp."
(on seeing Colin Kaepernick's face in the hotel garage) "It's amazing. He was the backup quarterback a couple of months ago. Now he is the guy that's going up on the walls in stadiums. Hats off to him. In the two seasons I've been in San Francisco, he's been a hard worker. He's a guy that just about every morning when I pull up to the facilities he's already out on the field doing extra stuff. He works his tail off and he deserves every bit of success."
(on being back in the Superdome) "I love the city of New Orleans. It's definitely a place I want to come back and visit often. To be able to go in the Superdome where I already have a lot great memories and a chance to make another great memory, is something I would always cherish. Hopefully we can get the job done but it's definitely a special feeling to be back here in New Orleans playing in this game."
(on where his Super Bowl XLIV ring is) "My ring is in South Carolina. It's locked up in South Carolina. Last year when I first got to San Francisco a couple of guys got to see it but it has been in South Carolina. Hopefully I can pull it out with another ring in a couple of months. It's something I take a lot of pride in but at the same time it feels weird being on another team with another team's logo on it (the ring)."
(on playing Sunday) "From my experience, the first three plays, when I played a couple of years ago, was kind of a blur. After that first three, it just became football again. Everybody was playing as hard as they could but at the end of the day it's still football. Just preparing during the week and focusing on the task at hand. At the end of the day it's still a football game."
(on teammates asking the difference between a normal game and the Super Bowl) "A lot of eyes will be on you this week. Once you get to the game you've got a longer halftime and a longer pregame. The main thing is coverage (of the game)."
(on his brother Harold Goodwin being an offensive coordinator) "It gives him another reason to get on me. He's always trying to coach me even though he's not my coach but I appreciate it. As a little brother I've always looked up to my big brother. He's always been there for me and he's always helped me in any way that he can. Even though when I feel he's wrong as a coach sometimes I just take it."
(on imagining if he'd play a Super Bowl in New Orleans after leaving) "No, not really. Going into San Francisco I knew we had a lot of talent; it was just a question of how fast we could put it together. To now, playing in the NFC Championship game and then into the Super Bowl, can I honestly say that I thought that'd happen? No. It's definitely a team I had a lot of respect for, especially in terms of their defense playing against them. Fortunately we've been able to put the talent together and become a winning team. Hats off to these guys. Can I say I could have predicted this right away? No."
(on Colin Kaepernick) "I think the Chicago game, great defense and the way he played that game, it said a lot about him. Even in a couple of other games. We lost to the Rams and had a couple of negative plays happen, and Colin came right back. It seems like anytime something bad happens he comes right back and does something great. Look at the Green Bay game. One thing I've always said about him from the start is he comes off as a guy that has a lot of confidence. I'm not just saying that, you can feel it by the way he acts and talks."
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