Conversing with Conway, Part II

At this point of his career, 33-year-old Curtis Conway says he doesn't really care about numbers, but 44 catches this season with the 49ers could make him the 33rd player in NFL history to record 600 career receptions. Conway says winning is more important to him now, and his main purpose is to help the Niners pile up victories this year, even if he has to do that in a reserve role for the first time since he joined the league.

Q: Do you have any first impressions of this team?

Conway: Young. I'm looking at these cats like, 'Man, they look like babies on this team.' But they've got some talent.

Q: If you're not a starter here this year, how difficult would it be for you to adjust to a different role?

Conway: I don't know. I'm a competitor, so I like being out there on the field. But I'm not going to whine about it, you know, I just go out there and compete. But more so than anything, I'm going to accept my role, because I know God put me here for reason, so I'm going to accept whatever role they give me. Now, whether I like it or not, that's a different story. No, I'm just kidding. But, you know, everybody wants the ball, everybody wants to be on the field. But on offense, it's 11 guys out there. We all need each other to win games. And that's what we're all here for ultimately, is to try to win.

Q: Did you talk to any other teams during the offseason?

Conway: I talked to a few, but not seriously. I was kind of in the middle of not even playing. The offseason this year wasn't really an aggressive one for me.

Q: Do you know many people on this team?

Conway: Tony Parrish and I played together in Chicago. And, of course, knowing a couple of guys just from playing against them by names. But as far as just downright knowing somebody as a friend, Tony is about the closest I know.

Q: Did he tell you what to expect from becoming a member of this team?

Conway: After 11 years, you pretty much expect it. This is my fourth team, so you kind of just have an open mind. You don't never want to come in and expect anything. You want to have an open mind and just let the chips fall where they may.

Q: What's it like to be a 33-year-old on a team of 23-year-olds?

Conway: It's a blessing. At this point in my career, any time you can help somebody get better, and you see these young kids out here playing, especially the kids that really want it, you see them working hard, it's a blessing to be able for them to come up to you and they ask you questions, I mean, you always want to pass it down. You don't want to be selfish and not help. You know, being a vet has its plusses, too. You can definitely be a help to some of these guys, and in the long run, they might mention you when they play in the Pro Bowl. 'This guy helped me out, he wasn't selfish, he didn't try to just hog the ball, he did everything he could to help me out.' And that's what you're here for, everything is helpful, because you can't stay in the league forever.

Q: You enter this season with 556 career receptions. How important to you is your legacy as a receiver?

Conway: I've never been a guy on numbers. When I'm out here, I love playing football. I love the little things about football. Just coming out and being around the guys. You know, falling down, catching the ball, getting hit. I mean, that's what I've been doing since I was 8. So I never really got caught up in numbers, because ultimately, you can get caught up in numbers and be a star, but the team is not doing anything. I mean, I'm a sore loser, so I would rather win. I've been in situations where I was the man and they were trying to get me the ball and I had big numbers, but we were still losing. So if you end the game with 100-and-something yards and then on ESPN, you're looking at a loss and you're not going to the playoffs, it's almost like 'What for?', you know?

Q: But those numbers mean something to people. Aren't you aware you're pushing up those charts?

Conway: They made me aware of it when I was in New York last year about the 500 catches thing, but I don't really keep up with that kind of stuff. I did when I was younger, but when you keep up with numbers, you tend to focus on yourself. And then you're like, before you know it, you'll be focusing on it too much and you'll be in the coaching office, 'I need eight catches this game, I need this.' They might be doubling you this game and we have to go on this side, but you're talking about your catches, I mean, that's selfish. So, when you're trying to win, you definitely don't worry about the numbers. Numbers will come if they're supposed to come, that's how I feel.

Q: Do you think it is exaggerated that there is a general impression this team is headed for a dive this season?

Conway: Anything can happen. Who would have thought Carolina would have been in the Super Bowl this year? It's a new season every year. You can 't really predict who is going to do what. Because there are lot of things that play factors in a football season. You've always got the surprising team, and you got the teams that's supposed to go that don't go, and then you've got injuries that take place that might keep some guys out. I mean, anything can happen. So when you come to this game, you just have to keep an open mind.

Q: It looks like you stayed in pretty good shape this offseason, despite the fact you were considering not playing.

Conway: Well, that's just what happens, it's just something you do in the offseason is work out. I still had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to still play.

Q: Now that you've decided to play, are you thinking just one more season, or maybe more?

Conway: Right now, I'm just taking it as it comes. When I went to New York, I had a lot of planning, 'Oh, this is going to happen, I got three years, we've got this, we've got that,' And all of a sudden, I was there for a year. So I learned to just let God work it out and whatever happens, happens.

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