Stubby a champ at mixing with media

Dana Stubblefield has a way with words. He also has a way with the media. And that's why the Niners' veteran defensive tackle was shaking hands and making jokes with 49ers beat reporters Thursday and giving reasons why not many NFL players are comfortable doing the same thing.

"Some guys, they have this dark cloud or bad thing about you guys," Stubblefield told a handful of reporters close to the team after they had selected him as the 2002 winner of the Garry Niver Award, given annually to the 49ers player who best exemplifies professionalism and cooperation with the media.

"There's some guys out there that if you saw them in a dark corner, they wouldn't come out. I know for a lot of you guys, there's not a lot of guys that like to talk to you media and things like that. It's tough, because some guys don't like talking to you guys even when you're trying to do a positive article about them. Some people don't understand that you guys can make them look like a different person just through your words and what you say about them."

But Stubblefield understands. He is always around to discuss football, and is a standup guy after both victories and defeats. It was like that during his first stint on the team from 1993-97. It has been like that since he returned to the team last year after three seasons with the Washington Redskins.

And Stubblefield appreciates that writers recognize his approachability and honesty.

When asked facetiously if the Niver Award ranked up there with winning 1997 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, Stubblefield said, "It's a great honor. I try to be truthful as much as I can and tell you the truth about everything and answer your questions as much as possible."





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