At the end of every Friday practice, the 49ers gather at midfield for Wise Words. It's typically a player who is chosen to deliver a message of his choosing, and on the most recent Friday team captain Justin Smith was tapped. Smith's Wise Words message: Don't let success get to your head.
"Anytime a team or people are having success, it's a natural reaction to exhale a little bit," Smith said later in the locker room that day. "I don't think that's what we're doing, but just be aware of it and keep working as hard as you have been in you do, win or loss, and we should be right back on track."
Smith's words, of course, came only hours after the man he plays beside and has a locker near, Aldon Smith, was arrested for his second DUI in as many years. Justin Smith said the message had nothing to do with that incident, that he would have delivered it despite the arrest.
Smith turns 34 this month, and only recently has he been part of winning teams. Last year his message to the team was that windows for success open only briefly, and that the 49ers must take advantage of them now. Another 49er in his thirties, Carlos Rogers, also had played for bad teams before coming to the 49ers in 2011.
He said that Smith's words struck home, and that he hoped his younger teammates took them to heart.
"Adversity is easy to handle," Rogers said. "When you lose a game, you're fired up and mad and come back and win a game. But when guys have success, you've got to keep having that hunger to come out work here every day and pile up winds, pile up good practices."
Said Rogers of Justin Smith: "Wise Words of the day. He hit it perfectly."
- Matt Barrows