Tavares Gooden Signs With 49ers as a Special Teamer

San Francisco 49er Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said that newcomer Tavares Gooden was signed mainly for special teams. "He's a good athlete and can run very well," he said. "He's been a good special teams athlete throughout his career. And I think he just improves our overall speed."

In fact, Gooden said he's even faster now that he's started doing yoga. Gooden said he took up the exercise this summer on the suggestion of his agents as a way of avoiding injury. Gooden has missed 22 games in three seasons due to an array of injuries ranging from a torn labrum to a hernia.

In fact, if you're a yoga instructor in the Bay Area, you have an opportunity to land a high-profile client. "I'm looking for a place out here where I can find a stretch doctor or a yoga instructor to help me out," he said. "I think I'll continue that because it has helped me out."

Fangio said that Gooden would play inside linebacker like he did with the Ravens. The idea is to get Gooden up to speed at "Mike" linebacker to be Patrick Willis' backup and to do the same at "Ted" with Larry Grant, who is NaVorro Bowman's backup.

Gooden was asked about his primary job responsibilities on special teams. His answer -- basically, go bulldoze the guy with the ball -- suggests he might be ready to roll on Sunday.

"Just kick tail, just kick butt," Gooden said. "That's my primary deal. Just go out there and play like a monster, play like a mad man. I think that's what I did my first three years in the NFL and I have that reputation for playing hard and going out there and kicking butt."

As for going into the season with just three outside linebackers? "Not comfortable with three outside linebackers but we thought this was worth the gamble to upgrade our special teams over the insurance of having a fourth outside linebacker," Fangio said.

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