Though a few people have made names for themselves playing at the position, safety is not one of football’s “sexier” positions. Sure, there’s the occasional SportsCenter-worthy hit, or a Head and Shoulders commercial, but typically, they are lower on the radar, both for fans and for NFL teams on Draft Day.
Playing alongside Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and Justin Smith, it would be even harder to shine. But, Dashon Goldson managed to do so. And for the Niners to let him go was an absolute travesty for the organization.
As most of you have probably noticed, the team has taken quite a turn since the arrival of Jim Harbaugh. The Niners, with this most recent NFC Championship, are officially THE heavyweight team in the conference and a strong favorite to win the Super Bowl this upcoming season. Most eyes will be on Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin, and the offense, but make no mistake: the Niners win because of their defense. And a big part of that success stemmed from the abilities of Goldson.
His numbers were impressive, but not out-of-this-world; nonetheless, his impact was certainly felt. The AP voters noticed, selecting him to his second consecutive Pro Bowl and providing him with his first All-Pro honors.
But the shame in letting him go was not only on the Xs-and-Os side of things (though it will hurt). Drafted by the Niners in 2007, he has grown with the organization — he’s seen the downs and the turnaround, and I have no doubt he wanted to help cement this team’s legacy with coach Harbaugh.
What makes this resurgence by the Niners so special is how naturally it has happened. A new coach took over, implemented his system, and saw immediate results. The youth made San Francisco’s prospects even more exciting; the team is built to last, and could very well be in “the conversation” eight years from now.
Being from the Bay Area, it’s pretty fitting that the team has been put together so organically — solid drafting, smart trades, and savvy navigation through free agency.
This is nothing like the 2002 Raiders, a team filled with veterans nearing the end of their careers, looking for that last hurrah. Goldson was a part of a legacy, and with his talents, he could have sat amongst the Niner greats. Unfortunately, this is a business, and though San Francisco still has much of its core, they will likely being paying the price in the long-term.