San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who helped seal the team’s win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 10, apparently isn’t happy with his role.
The underrated outside linebacker reportedly benched himself against the New York Giants on Sunday (via Fox Sports).
A source told FOX Sports that Brooks was upset with the coaches’ decision to take reps away from him and give them to Aldon Smith and Aaron Lynch during the team’s 16-10 victory over the New York Giants. The source said Brooks told the coaches and his teammates he believed he should be playing every snap and didn’t care to be part of a rotation, so he pulled himself from the game.
The 49ers, who are already without starting inside linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, didn’t miss a beat after Brooks pulled himself from the game. In fact, Aaron Lynch provided a pass-rush spark that helped force Eli Manning into throwing five interceptions. The rookie fifth-round pick sacked Manning once and forced a bad throw on an interception by Michael Wilhoite in the second half of the 49ers 16-10 win.
Remember, San Francisco reportedly came close to trading Brooks prior to the trade deadline last month. That coupled with a downtick in playing time apparently has Brooks upset.
But the 49ers need to do what’s best for the team and their playoff hopes. Combining a fresh Aldon Smith with Lynch provides Vic Fangio’s defense with an elite pass-rushing tandem. In addition to this, the idea that Brooks might move inside has been thrown out the window with the play of Chris Borland in lieu of an injured Patrick Willis.
Brooks’ long-term future with the 49ers is pretty clear. He’s set to count nearly $10 million against the cap in 2015. With the return of Smith from suspension and emergence of Lynch at the other outside linebacker position, it’s highly unlikely Brooks will be in a 49ers uniform next season.
The question here is whether he will remain on the 49ers active roster moving forward this season. Brooks indicated that he and head coach Jim Harbaugh were “working through something” during the team’s win against the Giants. Just what that something is might be could tell us a story about Brooks’ short-term future with San Francisco.