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ALAMEDA -– Tarell Brown hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2010. The veteran cornerback was a full-time starter and major contributor on 49ers teams that went to the NFC championship game three straight times.
In that stretch, Brown got used to a certain standard of excellence. That’s why this season feels so strange. The Raiders are 1-11, often playing bad football on the defensive end.
Despite a rough season, he still doesn’t regret his choice to sign in Oakland.
“I wouldn’t change it,” Brown said. “Once you sign up for something, you have to finish it. I’m that type of guy where when I sign up for something, I’m going to give you everything I have until the end.
“I’m still jacked up about signing here. I love the guys. I love the locker room. I love the organization. We just don’t have the wins we feel like we should have. We let a couple slip through our hands, and it’s a learning experience. When you have a younger team, you have those ups and downs and things of that sort, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”
Brown will get a closer look at how he used to live on Sunday when the Raiders play the 49ers, his only employer before this year. He spent seven seasons in red and gold, and developed into a quality cover man.
The 49ers were content letting him walk and, while he had other suitors, Brown chose to sign a one-year, fully-guaranteed $3.5 million contract in Oakland. He’s been a stabilizing force in the secondary, and his never-say-die attitude has been a positive force in the locker room.
“The guy goes out there and he gives you a solid day’s work every single day out there in practice, and that’s important,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “He’s been a durable player back there for us. I’ve been really pleased with what he’s done. He really is a good pro, a good guy to sit and visit with when you’re just talking about your football team a little bit and you want to pick somebody’s brain. He’s a good guy to sit and visit with that way. I like all the things he brings to the table for us. And I like the way he plays.”
The 49ers are familiar with Brown’s style of play and his work ethic.
“I had a very good relationship with T. Brown, and it’s good to see him playing well,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “His instincts, his feel for the game, knowledge for the game and his ability, effort, and talent level all show up.”
Brown wants to play his best against his old teammates on Sunday, which should add some juice to a big matchup.
“I look forward to it,” Brown said. “It’s going to be exciting. They’ll be hyped up to play against me. I’ll be hyped up to play against them, and it’s always great competition when you go against guys you’re familiar with.”