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On Thursday, Eli Harold joined the Damon Bruce Show on 95.7 The Game. Below, with the questions paraphrased, is what the San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker had to say on during the interview.
DB: It was still a game in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals. It looks like things are getting a little bit better, right?
EH: "Yeah. I feel like we're taking steps. Huge steps. Obviously, we didn't come out with the W, but I feel like as a team, not only as a defense but as a team, we took a big step."
What worked on Sunday and what aspects can you take into other games?
"I just felt like everyone believed in the game plan. We trusted each other. That's what it's about on our side of the ball. Playing with each other, trusting each other, executing the game plan. We all believed in Coach [Jim] O'Neil and his play calling and we went out there and tried to execute it as best as we could."
The pass defense struggled. How do you improve with Tom Brady coming into town?
"Well, first and foremost, it all starts up front. We've got to get pressure on that guy as best as we can. Execute the plays, execute the calls. Just relentless effort playing a guy like that. You have to get people in his face and affect the throwing lanes. That's big playing against a guy like Brady."
What is the biggest difference in your game now versus the day you were drafted?
"I'm much stronger. I came into this building basically at 240 pounds. In the offseason last year, I made a big point in getting stronger, getting some more weight on me. Me and Trent Baalke sat down. He laid it out and told me what I needed to do and I feel like this is my job, this is what I do. I get paid to do it so you need to take it seriously. So, I made a big emphasis in the offseason to put the weight on and come back as strong as a possibly could. I feel like that's the biggest difference."
How do you put the weight on without getting fat?
"You've got to eat healthy and you've got to lift heavy. That's the biggest thing I can give you, man."
Is NaVorro Bowman still involved with this team?
"He's coming in every day for treatment. I've seen him in the past few days. And he pulled me over to the side the other day and first congratulated me on getting my first sack. Just let me know -- he's in my ear -- let me know what he sees and how I can get better. Just here and there. Little knick knacks to improve my game."
Who helps you in film study?
"I'd say Andre Carter. I grew up a Redskins fan in Virginia. Grew up watching him when he played for the 'Skins and the addition of him on our staff this year really helped me improve my game a lot. He was an 80-sack guy in his NFL career -- Andre Carter -- and I feel like he's helped me tremendously. He's helped me along with [linebackers] Coach [Jason] Tarver, obviously, but Dre Carter has truly helped me improve my game on and off the field."
How are you guys keeping a good attitude through this disappointing season?
"It's tough, but you got to look on the bright side. Coming in each and every day, looking to get each other better. It's not all about the wins and losses, it's about what you take out of the situation. It's bigger than football, but ultimately, we're not where we need to be. So just keep grinding day in and day out on and off the field watching the tape. Improving. Doing whatever we got to do is the biggest thing. Obviously, no one wants to lose. The ball hasn't bounced our way more than we would have liked to, but it's just something that you got to just keep holding on and keep fighting and clawing and scratching and just keep grinding. That's all I can think about."
Is Colin Kaepernick healthy? Do you think he would want to return to this team next season?
"I don't get into all of that, to be honest with you. I just try to take care of what I got to take care of. Control what I can control. No matter who is back there for us, I fully believe and have faith in him, that he will help our team win."
How much longer does your protest with Kaepernick continue?
"Until I feel satisfied. Until I feel the issue has been addressed. I feel like a lot of things get swept under the rug in this society these days. Until I feel that things are changing, I'm going to continue doing what i'm doing."
What would a sign of progress be?
"I can't pinpoint one thing. It all starts locally. Obviously, I can't call a meeting and address the whole policing staff or a whole group of people. It all starts with the community that I'm in and however I can reach those guys and talk and people meet each other, have open seminars about a situation. It all starts up front with the society or with the area that I'm living in. The people that I can affect around Santa Clara, San Jose, it all starts in that area. I can't touch the whole world at one time. So I'm following Kap's lead and whatever he needs help with, I'm here for him."
Will you say anything to Tom Brady on the field?
"I try to stay away from the talking. The only time I would talk is if it was a really close friend of mine. Someone I played with in college or someone I know, someone I trained with, but I try not to get into all of that. You know what I'm saying? It's like, you're on the field of battle. No friends. Maybe after the game, but I don't plan on saying anything to him while in between those white lines."
You can listen to the entire interview on 95.7 The Game.