Going back home to stay?

Ahmed Plummer readily admits he grew up wanting to play for the Cincinnati Bengals. Those feelings haven't changed much in the four years Plummer has been the 49ers' starting left cornerback. "I'm looking forward to getting back home and playing. It's a dream come true," Plummer said of Sunday's game against the Bengals. Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, Plummer also said he could see himself spending a lot more time at Cincy's Paul Brown Stadium in the future.

When asked this week if Cincinnati was a team he would like to play for, Plummer's eyes brightened at the prospect.

"Oh, I would, yeah," he said. "I would definitely consider that a place to where. ... That would be the right situation."

Plummer is San Francisco's best cornerback and a player the Niners definitely would like to keep when they make their roster decisions for next season.

But the team is facing change in the offseason, and that will call for some difficult decisions, with Plummer's situation likely to be one of them.

A player of his value will command a handsome bonus and a lucrative contract on the free-agent market in March. But the Niners have several players that fall into that category, and Plummer might be one of the free agents they don't pursue because of his pricetag.

"Right now, I'm a 49er and I'm happy being a 49er, and that's what I want to continue to do," Plummer said. "But we all know how the business goes, and if Cincinnati was to consider me, then that would be something to look at."

Plummer would be a nice fit for Cincy's improving defense, which still needs a few more parts to rise among the league's upper tier under defense-minded head coach Marvin Lewis.

In conversations with SFI this year, Plummer has expressed uncertainty about the level of the team's interest in keeping him. The Niners currently are working behind the scenes on some contract extensions for some of their UFAs to be, and Plummer is not believed to be one of them.

So, while doing his best Sunday to help the Niners gain their first road win this season, Plummer also will be scoping out the situation as far as Cincinnati being a possible career home for the future.

It would be a good fit for him. He grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming, and his mother still lives in the area. Plummer and his wife, Tiffany, live in Columbus in the offseason with their infant daughter Briana, who was born on Sept. 13.

Plummer starred at Ohio State, and he has expressed a desire to get back closer to home at some point in his career.

"It's something that you always look forward to," Plummer said. "You always want to get to the NFL, and then to be able to play back home."

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