Patrick Willis says he will never use stats to define greatness

Feb 16, 2017 at 11:03 AM--


Former San Francisco 49ers All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis joined "Joe, Lo & Dibs" on 95.7 The Game and was asked about his hopes of one day getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After all, former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis made it this year despite a relatively short playing career. The same could be said of Willis, who retired from the NFL after just eight seasons. Davis played just seven seasons and participated in just 17 games over his final three seasons.

Davis had three spectacular seasons, rushing for over 1,500 yards in each and rushing for over 2,000 yards in 1998. Like Davis, Willis' level of play was high during his shortened career. He had over 100 tackles in six of his eight seasons and had over 140 tackles three times. During his rookie season (2007), he led the league with 174 tackles. But stats were never important to Willis.

"You know it's funny that after my first year in the league, I was compared to so many different other linebackers," Willis said. "Everybody from Ray Lewis to my linebackers coach at the time, Coach Singletary, to Jack Lambert to Dick Butkus. I mean, you just name it. Everybody kept comparing me to all these other people and I remember getting these tattoos that people would come to see later on and I would flex and it would say, 'I'm me.' And the reason that I got that tattoo was for the simple fact that I respect all those guys for what they did and the way they played their game at the level of consistency they played it. I have always told myself that when I came into the game, I would never judge myself by someone else's statistics to see whether I was great or not. I would base it off whether I done what I know I came into the game to do and I truly felt like I did that and that's why I was able to walk away from the game as I did.

"I'll never forget Coach Singletary telling me my rookie year -- First day of training camp, we had an altercation -- I think I told people before but he pretty much told me he didn't want me coming into the draft. He wanted Jon Beason and I'll never forget him telling me that because of some things that transpired during practice and pretty much what I had asked him at training camp meeting that night, he pretty much told me, long story short, what I took from it was: He said, 'You have to earn the right to be great and you have to earn that right to ask those kinds of questions that you asked tonight.'

"And I'll never forget leaving that practice facility telling myself that and going to my room and getting on my knees and saying, 'Lord, I don't know what it's going to take, but whatever it takes, I want to give it everything I've got and I want to earn the right to be great because I know that I am. I know that I'm meant to be here.' I never looked back and that was the one thing that I forever take with me."

You can listen to the entire interview on 95.7 The Game.





More San Francisco 49ers News



Ex-49ers Patrick Willis, Bryant Young, Anquan Boldin among Hall of Fame semifinalists

By David Bonilla
Nov 24

Former San Francisco 49ers stars Patrick Willis and Bryant Young were among the 26 modern-era players named semifinalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2022. The 49ers made Willis the No. 11 overall draft pick in 2007, and he spent eight seasons with San Francisco before retiring after the 2014 season. He was named to seven Pro Bowls and is a five-time first-team All-Pro. San Francisco made Young the No. 7 overall draft pick in 1994, and he spent 14 seasons with the team. He was named to the Pro Bowl four times and was a first-team All-Pro in 1996. Other former 49ers listed as semifinalists include wide receiver Anquan Boldin and running back Ricky Watters. Boldin is among seven first-year eligible players. The others are



'Deebo was extremely efficient': Why Kyle Shanahan is starting to use Samuel more in the 49ers' rushing attack

By David Bonilla
Nov 21

Well, that was unexpected. No, not the San Francisco 49ers' dominant performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The shocker was that Deebo Samuel was not the 49ers' leading receiver in the game. Instead, that was Brandon Aiyuk, who had 85 yards from seven catches. That in itself isn't the surprising aspect of the stat sheet from San Francisco's 30-10 win. It's that paired with Samuel being the game's leading rusher. "We planned on giving him some (carries) throughout the game," Shanahan said after the game. "We usually do. Usually, when things work, you come back to them. We had a couple different things with it and some play-actions I think we got in the third quarter -- I think one off of it." Samuel finished the game with eight carries for 79



Key stats from the 49ers' 30-10 Week 11 win over the Jaguars

By Site Staff
Nov 21

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 5-5 on the season after their 30-10 Week 11 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Below are several statistics and notes from Sunday's game, which were provided by the 49ers Communications staff. With The Win… The 49ers improved to 4-2 overall against the Jaguars, including a 2-2 record on the road. San Francisco has won each of the past 4 meetings between the two teams. The Niners earned their first win at TIAA Bank Field. Head coach Kyle Shanahan improved to 4-2 in his career against the AFC South and 2-0 against the Jaguars. 49ers



Key stats from the 49ers' 34-26 Week 12 win over the Vikings

By Site Staff
Nov 28

The San Francisco 49ers improved to 6-5 on the season after their 34-26 Week 12 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at Levi's Stadium. Below are several statistics and notes from Sunday's game, which were provided by the 49ers Communications staff. With The Win… The 49ers improved to 25-23-1 overall against the Vikings, including a 16-8-1 record at home. San Francisco is now 3-0 overall against Minnesota at Levi's Stadium. The Niners have won 3 of the past 4 overall meetings between the two teams. 49ers Offense The 49ers offense held the ball for 37:07 this afternoon against the


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone