You know two guys have a strong friendship when one doesn't hesitate to throw a string of colorful -- and public -- insults at the other. So it was today with Rams inside linebacker James Laurinaitis who volunteered that he was roommates with 49ers guard Alex Boone at Ohio State.
What was Boone like, James?
"Dirty, loud. The guy could snore through four walls and you'll hear him," Laurinaitis said. "He's a big man. The whole sleep apnea -- all that stuff. I would always advocate to get him one of those things to put over his face because I don't want to hear him snoring anymore."
Laurinaitis, an inside linebacker with the Buckeyes, never tangled much in practice with Boone, a left tackle, while in college. On Sunday, however, the matchup between Laurinaitis, who leads the Rams in tackles, and a 49ers running attack that ranks No. 1 in the league promises to be the main event.
It also might be a good matchup to have mic'ed up. Both players are rather talkative. "Oh, absolutely. Abolutely. That's just Alex," Laurinaitis said. "There's going to be some fun trash talking going on between me and him. And I look forward to it."
Both players left Ohio State in 2009. Laurinaitis was a second-round pick. Boone, who once was mentioned as a potential first rounder, wasn't drafted at all after a well-publicized alcohol-related incident in Southern California raised red flags about his character.
He caught on with the 49ers' practice squad after the 49ers picked him up as an undrafted free agent.
Said Laurinaitis of the road his former teammate has traveled: "Just to see him get things right and to really go forward with that. The physical stuff, I never questioned at all with Alex Boone. He is an extremely big human being. He always worked hard. Seeing him catch on and seeing how much he battled -- I mean, talk about perseverance. He's a practice-squad guy who's worked his way into this lineup. It's cool to see that with guys that you don't know. But when you know somebody personally, it's awesome to see that."
Linebacker Larry Grant, another Ohio State alum, also was roommates with Laurinaitis and could resist getting in a few digs on his former teammate.
"I've never smelt a person so bad in my life as Laurinaitis," Grant said straight-faced. "I've never had to walk into a room, open every window, leave the door open because of this guy."
Grant's humor also preceded a lot of praise. "He's definitely not at the stature of Justin Smith," he said. "But as a linebacker -- he doesn't take a play off. He's a guy that you definitely would love to have on your team. He's going to line everybody up, get everybody put in the right places for sure, and at the snap of the ball he's going to go. It doesn't matter where it goes, he's going to be part of that play."
-- Matt Barrows