Nedney tied to 49ers

Personal ties and emotional ties helped tie kicker Joe Nedney to the 49ers through 2009 as the 10th-year veteran signed a four-year, $5.6 million deal with the team Saturday on the opening day of the NFL's free-agency period. That's the first day Nedney could sign a deal of which contract terms already had been agreed upon between him and the Niners. Here, Nedney calls signing the long-term deal with his hometown team "a dream come true" and discusses finishing his career in San Francisco.

Q: What's the draw to staying with the 49ers?

Nedney:
For me, I have more of a personal reason. I grew up out here and I was introduced to the NFL through watching the 49ers win Super Bowls as a kid, so this means more to me than your average free agent signing a contract because I have a personal tie and emotional tie with these guys and this organization. Beyond that I have a wonderful head coach who I think is doing all the right things in trying to get this organization back to greatness, and the fact that he wants me to be apart of it means a whole lot. I am proud to sign a deal like this and it means that I am probably going to spent the rest of my career out here and I couldn't be happier.

Q: After one of the best seasons of your career, why not test the free-agent market?

Nedney:
When I signed last year and signed the one-year contract, I talked with Scot McCloughan and Paraag (Marathe) and they said, ‘Hey, you know what, we will sign you to this one-year deal, we know that you have been injured, show us that you are back and you are playing and we will take care of you.' Now, I ended up having a good season and they stuck to their word and I really wasn't interested in going anywhere else. This is where I wanted to be. I am just glad everything worked out the way that it did, it is not suppose to be this easy. It's really just a dream come true, I am a kid right now, that little 49er fan that was in Candlestick Park up in the stands and watching the team win games, this brings me back to all those days and being a kid, its just great.

Q: How often did you see the team when you were a kid?

Nedney:
My dad had friends who had season tickets and we would probably go to one or two home games a year, when I was about 10, 11 or 12 years old. Every Sunday was football day, it was the 49ers, watching the 49ers on TV and it was easy to root for your hometown team when they were destroying everybody and winning Super Bowls. That is how I got introduced to professional football, watching the 49ers absolutely decimate opponents, who didn't love that team back then?

Q: Did you ever see yourself getting to this point in terms of security?

Nedney:
Not with the 49ers. When I got into the NFL the 49ers would have been a dream come true, but they were not the type of team that was going to go out and sign kickers to long-term contracts. They were notorious for just having a young guy come in and play a few years and there was always a quick turnover with kickers, so when I got to vested status in the NFL I figured that there would be no way I would be playing for them, just because that was their philosophy. But to have come full circle and to have been in as many place as I have and to end up right back in the Bay Area, I could not have written a better script. It's hard to put into words, but lets play some football, I am ready to go. I am excited to see what this team is going to be doing in the next few weeks and next few months with free agency and the draft and all that kind of stuff and I think that we are going to be making the right moves.

Q: Have you signed this length of a contract before?

Nedney:
I signed a five-year contract with the Titans in 2001, and saw four years of it, two of which were active and two of which were IR. This is by far the highlight of my career.

Q: What was it like to be named co-MVP of the team tihs past season?

Nedney:
Weird. Last season meant a lot to me, just from the standpoint of being able to get back and play ball again. I had a new love for football, just from the point that I wasn't able to play the last couple of years. Every time I rehabbed an injury and was able to get back out there it seemed like I got hurt again and had to sit and watch again. It felt like I was that kid that was grounded and I was looking out my window watching all my buddies play in the street and I can't go out there and play and you really don't respect what you do until you can't do it and you are not allowed to in a way because of injury. I developed a whole new love and respect for Sunday and going out there and playing ball and I had fun. Unfortunately, we didn't do well, 4-12 is not necessarily a great season but it made my performance stand out a little bit more because our offensive production was what it was, things worked out really well. Being a veteran leader now, a veteran on a young team, I don't have as big a soap box as a quarterback or a running back does but you can lead by example, in the way that you prepare for a game, the love and respect that you have for your job and hopefully that will rub off on some guys and we can get a good dynamic in the locker room and translate that into a competitive team and I am excited to be apart of that.

Q: Did you consider retirement during your injuries?

Nedney:
Oh yeah, absolutely. To work so hard to rehab from an ACL tear and then immediately upon getting back on the field or even before getting back on the field again tearing a hamstring and knowing that you are going to have to go through another year of it, you start to wonder if it is worth it, do I really want to do this again? But I quickly answered that question, and there is a reason because I love football. I am a football fan and if I wasn't playing I would still be watching on Sundays, I love the atmosphere, the electricity, everything that is involved with game day I missed it so much that I wanted to at least show myself that I could rehab these injures and get back out there and play and I am not damaged goods and I still have a lot of years ahead of me, so (to come back and sign a long-term deal) means a lot.

Q: Did you think that the deal was going to get done CBA or no CBA?

Nedney:
When the season ended I sat down with Bob Lamonte and said that this is where I want to be, let's get this done and give me a call when it is done. I was probably watching more interestingly than anyone else, because it kept getting extended and extended and extended. All I really wanted to do is come in and get this thing done, I finally got the call and once the union and owners came to an agreement I knew it was time to come in here and get it done and I was excited. I was biting my nails not necessarily wondering if I was going to be a (member) of the 49ers, but just excited to start the 2006 season. I am just glad everything got worked out.


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