FOOTBALL FAR FROM MINDS OF 49ERS

<P>There was only one thing on the minds of the 49ers on Wednesday. </P>

There was only one thing on the minds of the 49ers on Wednesday.

And it wasn't the New Orleans Saints.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's terror and devastation in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania, it was difficult for the Niners to spend much time thinking about playing a football game Sunday at the Louisiana Superdome.

 "It's very difficult right now," quarterback Jeff Garcia said. "It's a very somber mood in the locker room. I think everybody's really bracing down with the rest of the country as far as what we're going through as a country. It's a very sentimental time in our lives. I think everybody is realizing how fragile life is and how quickly that can be taken from you. We're just kind of struggling with the rest of the U.S. as far as where this is going to go."

San Francisco players such as offensive tackle Scott Gragg, guard Dave Fiore and safety Lance Schulters have close ties to and friends and family in the immediate New York area. Gragg played five years for the New York Giants, Fiore was born and raised in New Jersey and Schulters was raised and still lives in Brooklyn.

Defensive quality control coach Dan Quinn, who joined the 49ers this season, is from the New York area and had spent the past five years coaching there at Hofstra University. His wife Stacey - formerly the head trainer at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. - had flown back to New York on Monday night to help train her replacement. She watched the World Trade Center towers burn from across the East River. "She was definitely shook up," Quinn said. "You wake up to that, and things change in a hurry."

Linebacker Julian Peterson was raised and still lives in Maryland, and both of his parents used to work for the FBI in Washington.

None of those players or coaches had any family or friends who perished during Tuesday's calamity, but Fiore said he knows "20 or so" people who work in the World Trade Center who were able to get out safely before the structures collapsed.

 "We're a bit shocked. A bit sad. A bit angry," Fiore said. "We're all trying to stick together and cope with it the best we can."

Several players said that the terrorist activity would not shake their resolve to go forward with their lives and highly-visible professional careers. "Right now, I'm just mourning like everybody else in the country," cornerback Ahmed Plummer said. "But I'm not going to walk in fear. My trust and belief is in God. I trust God, that he'll take care of me, and he'll take care of this country. I'm not going to allow this to place fear into my heart."

As far as the NFL playing this week's scheduled games, Plummer echoed the sentiments of several other San Francisco players when he said, "I'm going to support whatever decision the commissioner makes. I hope the decision is based on what is best for this country, not necessarily what's best for the NFL."


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