If Vikings go to Super Bowl, Gore and Smith go to Pro Bowl

The NFC Championship game on Sunday might have an impact on the NFL resumes of two standout 49ers players.


If the Vikings defeat the Saints on Sunday, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson and interior lineman Kevin Williams (as well as first alternate Pat Williams) would not play in the Pro Bowl, which is scheduled for the Sunday prior to the Super Bowl.


That would be great news for 49ers running back Frank Gore and defensive lineman Justin Smith.

Gore, the first alternate, would then get a chance to play in the Pro Bowl in his hometown of Miami. That would mean a great deal to Gore, who was torn up toward the end of the 2008 season when an ankle injury kept him out of the 49ers’ game against the Dolphins. It would be Gore’s second trip to the Pro Bowl. He was also named to the team following the 2006 season, in which he rushed for a franchise record 1,695 yards.


(Gore might also get his chance if Rams running back Steven Jackson, who was limited by a herniated disc in his back in the second half of the season, decides not to play.)


Also, Justin Smith would get an opportunity to play in his first Pro Bowl with two Vikings interior linemen being ruled out because of the Super Bowl.


Smith is a second alternate. He had another outstanding season for the 49ers. He has the longest active streak among NFL defensive linemen with 139 consecutive starts. He had six sacks. He recorded 90 tackles (according to the coaches’ review of game film) with a team-best 78 pressures and 52 hits on the quarterback.


If Gore and Smith join the NFC Pro Bowl team, it would showcase five 49ers in the event. Linebacker Patrick Willis and tight end Vernon Davis were named NFC starters, and Andy Lee was chosen to handle the punting chores.



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That didn’t take long. Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan, who did fine work as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in his only seaso, was hired by the Miami Dolphins just one day after mutually parting ways, Fox’s Jay Glazier reports.


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Two former 49ers recently signed future contracts. Defensive tackle Baraka Atkins, who spent several weeks on the 49ers’ roster late in the season, signed with the Broncos. And defensive end Jay Moore signed with the Tennessee Titans.


Moore was a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2007, but he spent his two seasons with the 49ers on injured reserve with ankle and biceps injuries he sustained in the final exhibition games.


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If you missed it, the 49ers yesterday hired Kurt Schottenheimer as special-teams coordinator. Here is my article in today’s Press Democrat.


And, also, the NFL announced the list of 53 underclassmen who were granted special eligibility into the 2010 draft.


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