The San Francisco 49ers travel east to face the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday and it is sort of a bizarro kind of world as the Bengals have several former 49ers in the fold. Nate Clements is starting at cornerback, Manny Lawson is starting at outside linebacker in their 4-3 defense and Taylor Mays is a backup safety, although he has been injured the first two weeks.
The 49ers have their own Bengals connections with the most notable being Justin Smith. Having signed prior to the 2008 season, Smith will be making his first start against his former team (they last faced each other in 2007). Along with Smith, Madieu Williams was originally drafted by the Bengals in 2004 and Ahmad Brooks was selected by the Bengals in the 2006 supplemental draft.
Speaking of former 49ers, Nate Clements chatted with the 49ers media earlier today and discussed his decision to leave (49ers offer wasn't in the best interest of his family) and what he saw in the new 49ers offense and Alex Smith in particular. His best line might have been the mention of how just seeing them move guys around was a change from the past. It says a lot about previous offensive philosophies when moving players around in formations is a noticeable change.
- 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh played QB for the Ravens (1998)when Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis (defensive coordinator) and special teams coach Darrin Simmons (assistant special teams coach)served on Baltimore's staff.
- Offensive line coach Mike Solari coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1981-82.
- DT Justin Smith originally entered the league as the 4th overall draft choice of the Bengals in the 2001 NFL Draft. Smith spent 7 seasons with the Bengals before joining the 49ers in 2008.
- S Madieu Williams was drafted by Cincinnati in the second round (56th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. Williams spent 4 seasons with the Bengals (2004-07).
- LB Ahmad Brooks was selected in the 3rd round of the 2006 supplemental draft by Cin. and played from the Bengals from 2006-07.
- 49ers T Alex Boone (2005-08), WR Ted Ginn Jr. (2004-06), LB Larry Grant (2006-07) and S Donte Whitner (2003-05) played at Ohio State.
BENGALS-NOR CAL CONNECTIONS
- Defensive line coach Jay Hayes coached at Cal from 1992-94.
- Running backs coach Jim Anderson coached at Stanford from 1981-83.
- CB Nate Clements played with the 49ers from 2007-10.
- LB Manny Lawson played with the 49ers from 2006-2010 and was a 1st round (22nd overall) by SF in the 2006 NFL Draft.
- S Taylor Mays was drafted in the 2nd round (49th overall) by the 49ers in the 2010 NFL Draft.
- S Gibril Wilson was born in San Jose, CA.
GATOR NATION - 49ers DT Ray McDonald played at Florida with Bengals WR Andre Caldwell and S Reggie Nelson from 2005-06.
HURRICANE HOMIES - 49ers RB Frank Gore and LB Tavares Gooden were teammates with Bengals CB Kelly Jennings at Miami (FL) from 2003-04.
THE BIG HOUSE - 49ers WR Braylon Edwards played at the University of Michigan with Bengals CB Leon Hall for two season (2003-04).
SOONER SIMILARITIES - 49ers S Reggie Smith and Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham were teammates at Oklahoma from 2006-07.
BUCKEYE BROTHERS - 49ers WR Ted Ginn Jr. (2004-06), S Donte Whitner (2003-05) and Bengals K Mike Nugent (2001-04) were teammates in 2004 at Ohio State.
TROJAN TIES - 49ers G Chilo Rachal (2004-07), Bengals LB Rey Maualuga (2005-08) and S Taylor Mays (2006-09) were teammates at USC.• Notched a career-high 8 recepts. for 146 yds. and 2 TDs vs. Cin. (9/16/07).