Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


‘He played like a vet’: 49ers rookie Talanoa Hufanga impresses Fred Warner, Josh Norman

Oct 31, 2021 at 2:53 PM--


San Francisco 49ers rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga was excited to start his first NFL game. You could hear it in his voice on Friday when he spoke with reporters.

"Oh man, it's been a blessing," Hufanga told reporters after the team's last practice of the week. "It's been a long time coming. All glory to God, first off. It's a unique experience. I've been here, just trying to enjoy this process, enjoy this role, whether I'm on the field, I'm off the field."

The 49ers leave Chicago with a 33-22 victory, snapping an embarrassing four-game losing streak. Hufanga will continue to get opportunities with Jaquiski Tartt (knee) on injured reserve.

"Oh man, he was great," cornerback Josh Norman said of Hufanga's performance against the Bears. "He was great. He was everything we asked for and some. He wasn't scared of the moment. He actually grabbed that moment by the horns, and he ran with it. He's just going to continue to keep improving, and a guy like that, he only can get better.

"I mean, he's a rookie, for crying out loud. He played like a vet today."

Hufanga is close with another former USC Trojan — NFL great Troy Polamalu.

"If you want to have a big brother, it's Troy Polamalu," Norman added. "That's for sure. He is an awesome talent, and if [Hufanga] can come [close] to [playing like] him one day, that's a big feat. But he's starting off on a good foot."

Another defensive teammate, All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner, was also impressed with the rookie safety's ability to fill in for Tartt, even though he didn't get to see a lot of the rookie's play today.

"I thought he did great," Warner told reporters. "Obviously, you've got to go back and watch. He's playing behind me, so half the time, I don't really know what he's doing, but it seemed like he was around the ball, being disruptive, and doing the right things, being in the right spots. I think he did a good job."

Next up for Hufanga and the 49ers are the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on November 7.



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