San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said in his media conference on Monday that all is well with linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who reportedly benched himself in the second half of the team's 16-10 road win over the New York Giants on Nov. 16 as a protest for lack of playing time in light of Aldon Smith's return.
Jim Harbaugh says all is well with San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks.
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It remains unclear whether Brooks took himself out of the game or was benched during the second half of San Francisco's 16-10 win over the New York Giants on Sunday. Regardless, the 49ers head coach told The San Jose Mercury News' Steve Corkran on Nov. 17 that the situation is under control:
"Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that he and linebacker Ahmad Brooks had a conversation, presumably about Brooks' dissatisfaction with his diminished role with the 49ers, and that it's time to move forward.
"'We've addressed it,' Harbaugh said. 'We had those conversations, and (it's) onward.'
"Harbaugh said 'yes,' when asked if he expects Brooks to play this Sunday against the Washington Redskins. He declined to go into specifics about his conversations with Brooks.
"Brooks either removed himself from Sunday's game against the New York Giants after only two series -- he played 12 snaps -- or got benched, depending upon several reports.
"After the game, Brooks echoed Harbaugh's statement from Sunday that 'we're working through something.' Brooks was unavailable for comment Monday.
"Rookie linebacker Aaron Lynch played 66 out of 70 defensive snaps, with many of those being ones that likely would have gone to Brooks. Lynch had nine pressures and one sack, according to Pro Football Focus.
"The return of linebacker Aldon Smith from a nine-game suspension meant that someone was going to lose playing time. Smith played 54 downs.
"The game before the 49ers beat the Giants, Brooks delivered a game-changing play when he sacked Saints quarterback Drew Brees in overtime and forced a fumble that rookie linebacker Chris Borland recovered. That set up a game-winning field goal.
"But that was before Smith returned from his suspension. Earlier this season, a report surfaced that the Cleveland Browns and 49ers discussed a trade that involved Brooks. Harbaugh downplayed the report earlier this month.
"Brooks has started every game since the 2011 regular-season opener. After the game Sunday, Harbaugh made it clear that Brooks remains in the 49ers' plans.
"'We need Ahmad Brooks to win a championship,' Harbaugh said. 'I feel that wholeheartedly.'"
CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote about the Brooks-Smith situation on Nov. 17:
"Outside linebacker Aldon Smith was eased back into action on Sunday against the New York Giants, as he remained on the sideline for the 49ers' first two defensive series.
"But once Smith was back, he was back. And Ahmad Brooks sat on the bench.
"Smith saw action on 77 percent of the 49ers' defensive plays after his return from a nine-game suspension for violation of the NFL's policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.
"Smith played 54 snaps, while rookie outside linebacker Aaron Lynch played 66 snaps. Brooks did not see action from the middle of the second quarter through the remainder of the game. He played just 12 snaps before sitting down in apparent disgust after losing his full-time role.
"Rookie inside linebacker Chris Borland, as expected, played every play. But another rookie made his largest contribution. Cornerback Dontae Johnson played 56 snaps as the team's No. 3 cornerback. Johnson deflected the fourth-down pass late in the game that Borland caught for his second interception of the game."
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