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A heavy dose of Deese

"If I had it my way? There isn't any reason to talk about that. I played 12 years there. The only reason I am in Tampa is because obviously they didn't want me anymore. So, I came somewhere where they really appreciate me and wanted me." --- Tampa Bay offensive tackle Derrick Deese, a former 49er who makes some scathing indictments of Niners management</p>

Q: Derrick, are you happy to be in Tampa Bay?

Deese: I'm glad to be in another Bay.

Q: How much are you following this year's 49ers?

Deese: Up to a certain point. You know, I knew it was going to be a rough time for the guys when I left. I didn't follow them as closely as I should because I have my own team to worry about.

Q: Do you keep in touch much with any current 49ers?

Deese: I try to talk to some of those guys. I keep in touch with Newberry and B.Y. I talk to Kwame a couple of times. I talk to Andre, Ronnie Heard and Tony Parrish.

Q: If you had your own way, would you still be here?

Deese: If I had it my way? There isn't any reason to talk about that. I played 12 years there. The only reason I am in Tampa is because obviously they didn't want me anymore. So, I came somewhere where they really appreciate me and wanted me.

Q: Have you done much talking to Tampa's defense about Kwame Harris, the guy who replaced you here at left tackle?

Deese: (Laughs.) Well, today we just started breaking down film. Whatever questions they have had I have answered, yes, definitely.

Q: Have you been following Kwame's progress?

Deese: Yeah, I think so. I think I have followed it as well as I could have. I talked to him earlier in the year about things that he should work on and, you know, it's one of the situations where he got thrown in before he was ready to go and I think he was anticipating having another year to develop and that just didn't happen.

Q: Should 49ers fans be getting ready for more losing seasons under this management?

Deese: Definitely. Without a doubt. I feel kind of sorry for the players and the coaches. There comes a time when every player knows that their career is coming to an end on either this team or it's time for me to retire. But the thing is that you don't get rid of an entire team in one year. I think that's what they pretty much did and they are seeing the effects of what happens. It's not always about the cap. It's not always about getting your guys in there because that's who you drafted. Really, you have to look at the team as a whole and do what's best for the team.

Q: Does that come from York or Donahue?

Deese: Hey, they run the team, right? One owns it and one got an extension.

Q: How bad was it, really, getting rid of the team in one offseason?

Deese: It's not just the fans, it's the players and it's the coaches. I heard that they were calling for Erickson's head. It's not Erickson's fault. He's doing the best with what he has. I'm sure if he would have had some of the guys who got released last year it would have been a different situation. I think if you ask the players it would be a different situation.

Q: What do you feel you could have accomplished this season with the 49ers?

Deese: I don't even look at that. I just know what we did the first year and I would have pretty much assumed that the second year would have been better.

Q: Was this offseason an effort to save money?

Deese: I don't know if it was an effort to save money or just flexing your power.

Q: Can you talk a little about your personal dealings with management?

Deese: Well, we sat down at the end of the year and he basically just told me that things would happen quickly. He wanted to know if I was going to retire or if I was going to play and I told him that I thought I could still play. He seemed shocked by that answer and he left it with, ‘We're going to get this done quickly.' And so I didn't hear from him again until four days before free agency, when he released me.

Q: When did you have that meeting with Donahue?

Deese: That was right at the end of the season. I believe the next day or two.

Q: What was the reaction to your decision to continue playing?

Deese: (Donahue) just said that he didn't know that. Like, when I told him that I still wanted to play and still can play in this league and he was, like, ‘I didn't know that.' And that was the end of that. (So I thought) OK, I hadn't given up a sack in over two-and-a-half years and you say that you are shocked that I still want to play? (Laughs.) OK.

Q: What have your been your dealings with the Yorks?

Deese: Let's just say this. When Eddie D. had the team it was always players first. Whatever he could do for the players is what mattered. Everyone else was second. Obviously that has changed.

Q: What is first now?

Deese: His pocketbook.

Q: Do you talk much with other former 49ers?

Deese: I talk to Stone. I talk to Garcia. I talk to T.O. I talk to Garrison. It's real funny. A lot of the guys say the same things. Everyone is saying now that if they had these guys it would be a lot different. Well it's easy to see in hindsight that you probably wouldn't get rid of us again.

Q: How is Tampa Bay?

Deese: It's been great. I've been well accepted and they brought me in here to be a leader and build an offensive line. I'm just doing my best.

Q: In terms of how you are treated, does it bring back memories of what the 49ers were once like?

Deese: Yeah, it's a lot similar to when I first got (there) and how they try to cater to the players and make sure everything is OK. They are trying to get a new facility going on down here. Obviously they just got a new stadium, so in that aspect yes, definitely. In other aspects it's a lot better because when I was with the 49ers I didn't feel appreciated a lot of the time there. Here, I feel really appreciated.

Q: Are you still playing at the high level you were playing at here?

Deese: Yeah, I had an injury early in summer camp which sort of slowed me down from learning the system and things like that. At times, I'm still learning on the go basically. Those three weeks that I missed in training camp really took a toll as far as learning the playbook. So it's one of those situations where you get into the scheme and (wonder if) you are making the right decisions or not and so it's a little bit more complicated here than it was on the 49ers. But hey, we're getting better as we go.

Q: What are your thoughts on lining up against Andre Carter?

Deese: I think it's going to be a good matchup. It's a thing where we worked together as everybody knows and we know each other pretty well.

Q: Do you need new tricks up your sleeve for Carter?

Deese: No, I'm going to play my game and let him play his. I'm not going to worry about what he is doing. I got to go out and do what I have to do.

Q: How often do you talk to Carter?

Deese: We've talked a couple of times this year. I called him after I found out he had gotten hurt. I wanted to make sure he was alright. I still have friends on that team. I played there long enough that, regardless of what my feelings are towards management and what their feelings are towards me, I still have friends on that team.

Q: You said Donahue was surprised that you said you wanted to play this year. Do you have thoughts in mind about how many more years you might want to play?

Deese: No, I'm just taking it year by year. I definitely think I can play another year or two. And at that point in time I'll probably make a decision as to whether or not I want to retire or whatever it is. But as of right now I still can play in this game and don't worry about (other stuff).

Q: Do you remember when the atmosphere around the organization changed?

Deese: Well, if you remember correctly, when York took over there was about a year and a half or two years there he really didn't have control of the team, based on the fact that they were still in court and what not, deciding how the team was going to get split up or how they were going to work out their own personal problems with Eddie D. As soon as they worked that out, that's when a lot of big changes started happening.

Q: That's not coincidental?

Deese: Not at all.

Q: What are your thoughts on coach Erickson and how he's dealing with this team?

Deese: Well, it's kind of funny because when Erickson first got there he and I talked about his time in Seattle and how the rug had basically been pulled from underneath him. He came on as the 49ers coach thinking that things would be different and that he was coming to an organization that really cared and everything like that. I think once again the rug was pulled from underneath him. He's a good guy and a good coach and he's doing the best he can with what he has.

Q: So we might not ever know how good a coach Erickson might be at this level?

Deese: No, I don't think so. Unless things make a drastic change. Like I said, for his sake, and for the players that are there, I hope that happens. The bottom line is really, if you are going to release players, you can release two or three a year and he might be able to recover from that. But if you are going to release seven, eight or nine starters from one year, come on. Who are you fooling? You aren't playing for next year. You are playing for four years down the line. In four years or three years they might be a great team. You never know. You just have to wait and see. But if you notice with Terry, you read stuff where he says ‘Well, you know, we are cap-strapped and we'll be OK next year,' and then when next year comes (he says) ‘Oh, we might not be out of this for another two years.' Well eventually those two years are going to come. What are you going to say then?


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