Tony Dungy cautions 49ers about 'red flag' with Antonio Brown trade


Tony Dungy cautions 49ers about 'red flag' with Antonio Brown trade

The hot rumor in the Bay Area right now is the 49ers trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle has started the recruiting campaign. Hall of Fame wide receivers Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice have made it clear they want it to happen.

But Hall of Fame coach and NBC Sports studio analyst Tony Dungy has been through this sort of situation and is pumping the brakes just a little bit.

"My question, to our personnel people, would always be, 'Why is this person available? If this is such a great player, why are they trying to trade him?' " Dungy said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. "And sometimes, it can be as simple as money, maybe it's the contract and you say, 'OK, they don't have enough to pay him, he's disgruntled about money, we can fix that.' But if there are other reasons, underlying reasons, and usually there are because people aren't giving away great players just to help you be better, that's usually a red flag."

Dungy coached 49ers general manager John Lynch for six seasons in Tampa Bay, and he mentioned that they shied away from players with locker room issues.

"I don't know how they'll handle this one and what they'll do," Dungy said. "But for the most part, in my time, I found that people that have problems in one locker room, those problems don't usually vanish because they go to another locker room."

No doubt the 49ers have a tough decision to make if they truly are interested in Brown. Are they convinced that Brown won't bring his locker room issues with him to Santa Clara? With that uncertainty, is it worth paying the high price to get him?

49ers' Dee Ford envisions 'unfair' competition if only some teams have fans

49ers' Dee Ford envisions 'unfair' competition if only some teams have fans

If the NFL relies on local jurisdictions to determine the extent to which fans can occupy stadiums this season, it could create a disparity of home-field advantages throughout the league.

“At the end of the day, the true advantage is just the energy at home,” Ford said Friday on a video call with Bay Area reporters.

“I definitely feel it’s an advantage, or a disadvantage if you don’t have it. And I guess I do feel like it would be a little unfair.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The start of the NFL regular season is more than three months away, and there is no telling at this point what will be advisable due to the uncertain nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some states might allow full stadiums. Others might insist on social-distancing measures. And other teams might be in locations where large gatherings still are not allowed when the season is scheduled to kick off in September.

“It would definitely be, in my opinion, an unfair advantage, if some teams have fans and some teams don’t,” Ford said. “On the offensive side, you’re dealing with crowd noise. And on the defensive side, it’s more so snap count, chaos.”

Ford said he has also heard of the possibility that some teams might pipe in crowd noise in an attempt to artificially create atmosphere.

“I heard things about the virtual crowd noise,” Ford said, laughing. “I’m going to go out on the limb and say, a couple teams already have that going on, so they won’t have any issues with it.”

Ford did not specify which teams he suspects are producing crowd noise.

[RELATED49ers' Dee Ford rehabbing from knee surgery after playing 'on blown tire']

While some opposing players have expressed skepticism whether Seattle’s decibel levels are authentic, the Atlanta Falcons are the only organization in recent years to be punished for pumping in crowd noise.

The NFL fined the Falcons $350,000 and the franchise had to forfeit a fifth-round draft pick in 2016 as punishment. Also, team president Rich McKay was suspended nearly five months from the NFL competition committee as a result of the violation.

49ers' Dee Ford talks about brotherhood he's developed with Nick Bosa

49ers' Dee Ford talks about brotherhood he's developed with Nick Bosa

The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Dee Ford No. 23 overall back in 2014 despite having two established veteran edge rushers on the roster. That could’ve added some awkwardness to the Chiefs' position group, with a hand-picked newcomer as the heir apparent to an established, well-compensated star.

Justin Houston and Tamba Hali didn’t let that happen. They welcomed Ford with open arms, welcoming him to the team while offering tips and tricks of the trade.

Ford always appreciated that generosity and chose to pay it forward after the 49ers drafted Nick Bosa at No. 2 overall. Ford beat Bosa to the 49ers by but a few car lengths, coming over in what was essentially a sign-and-trade, but still felt compelled to help the rookie out. Bosa was as appreciative of the veteran help as Ford was back in 2014, and the two formed a fast friendship.

“I feel like it was a manifestation of the brotherhood that Tamba and Justin provided for me in Kansas City,” Ford said Friday morning in a video conference with 49ers reporters. “I knew that I needed to do that for Nick as far as embracing him and communicating with him during games. I really feel like we simplified things together. That’s what Justin and Tamba did for me.

“It always felt like practice and we were just out there vibing, having a good time [during games], but we worked hard and we pushed each other. That’s only going to continue.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Ford played the entire 2019 season dealing with tendinitis in his knee and missed games downs the stretch with a hamstring strain, but the two were dynamic when on the field whether playing off opposite edges or next to each other.

That was clear in Ford’s return to action in the NFC divisional round, when Bosa and Ford harassed the Minnesota Vikings from every angle. Bosa sang Ford’s praises after the win, saying how much he impacts games and makes others on the 49ers defensive line better.

“Just having his presence and his pass-rush ability, his knowledge and communication, he's a true vet,” Bosa said then. “It's nice to have him out there.”

[RELATED: 49ers' Ford rehabbing from knee surgery after playing 'on blown tire']

A solid working relationship is all that’s required of NFL teammates, even those in close proximity. Ford and Bosa are developing a legitimate off-the-field friendship that will only serve to strengthen their on-field bond.

“You don’t have to connect on a personal level. Let’s get that right,” Ford said. “But, on a personal level, I really like Nick. We’re growing to love each other as individuals, and that draws you even closer. I’m looking forward to playing more with him. I was only on the field minimal time last year so I’m excited about what we’re going to do next year.”