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49ers LB Dre Greenlaw not taking Super Bowl opportunity for granted

Feb 8, 2024 at 12:58 PM--

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Dre Greenlaw was a rookie the last time the San Francisco 49ers made it to the Super Bowl. Reflecting on that experience and the heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs four years ago has motivated the hard-hitting linebacker. Greenlaw is not taking this new opportunity for granted. He's ready to give his all this weekend in Super Bowl 58 because you never know when your next opportunity will present itself.

When you experience success as a rookie, it's easy to assume that opportunities like the Super Bowl will be commonplace. However, the 49ers' 2020 season quickly taught Greenlaw that's not the case. San Francisco won only six games during that injury-plagued campaign.

"I think we just struggled that year and struggled pretty bad," Greenlaw recently told team reporter Lindsey Pallares. "And just 2021, coming up short, NFC Championship, 2022, coming up short, you just started to realize you can't take it for granted because you may not get the opportunity again."

Greenlaw's teammate, Trent Williams, has been in the league since 2010. Sunday will be his first time playing in a Super Bowl, showing the linebacker how difficult it is to reach football's pinnacle.

That realization has motivated Greenlaw.

"Yeah, you just start studying a little bit harder," the defender said. "You just start doing all the little things and just appreciating every moment of it because, regardless, it's our last week of football, so you just put, every moment, everything you got into making sure you just get the job done."

Greenlaw is a different player now than he was during that Super Bowl defeat. He has evolved into one of the most respected linebackers in the game.

"Just mentally, just understand the game better," Greenlaw said of his growth. "Just understanding how offenses like to attack our defense and just understanding my impact on the defense. And understanding just what I'm good at and the things that I'm able to do and just trying to do those things every Sunday, every chance I get on the field."

When asked about Greenlaw this week, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce declared, "Greenlaw, he's a dog. He's unbelievable every single time we play against them. He gets me quite a bit of times, and I know I'm definitely going to be put in some situations for some one-on-one matchups against him."
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