San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead joined NBC Sports’ Chris Simms’ “Unbuttoned” podcast to talk about when he realized he was bigger than everyone else, DeForest Buckner, his new contract, and much more. Armstead told Simms he was 6’1” 220 pounds...in eighth grade. I’d say a future in football was prominent for Armstead.
When asked about how he got into sports, Arik said: “I started off playing basketball. My dad was a professional basketball trainer; he trained pro athletes. I fell in love with basketball at a young age. My AAU basketball coach made me play football one year. I wasn’t very good. I stuck with it and got better eventually.” Armstead said he started focusing on football in his sophomore year in high school.
Armstead said he wasn’t a 49ers fan growing up, but it was a dream come true to stay in northern California once he was drafted by the Niners and play for the closest team where he’s from so he can represent northern California and have his family close. Armstead said he didn’t have a favorite football team growing up since he was a basketball fan.
When asked how he’ll remember the 2019 season: Big year for my life, I had a lot to prove this past season. I made a bunch of memories with my teammates. We put in a lot of hard work and had some success and kinda turned around the organization. It was my first winning season in the NFL. First playoff game, Super Bowl appearance. It was a lot of firsts for me. It didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but we have a great team to come back and try and do it again.” Armstead said he thinks about the Super Bowl every now and then as someone will bring it up, but he lets it motivate him. Arik said he wouldn’t sum up the year to one play (3rd & 15 in the Super Bowl) because all the team accomplished.
The conversation segued to if Armstead bought anything special once he signed his new deal: “Nah, I’ve been quarantined. Can’t really do too much. It was exciting. It wasn’t soo much about the money, for me. I knew I didn’t want to be anywhere else, and I knew I wanted to stay close to home and continue to have an impact on the community there that I’m trying to impact. That’s what I was really excited about. Money comes and goes. God definitely had blessed me there in that situation, financially, but to be able to stay with the Niners, and try to get back to the Super Bowl, and be close to my family, that’s what really was important to me.”
Armstead was asked who the veteran leaders are on the 49ers: We have so many players. That’s the thing about our team and why we’re so successful. Any given day, we have a new leader and a person who steps up. We don’t have just one or two players that we rely on every Sunday to drag us to victory. WE have a complete team. If one guy isn’t having a productive day, it’s going to be another guy. That’s why I love being a part of this team. We have leaders and productive guys and superstars all over the field.
Arik on what Kyle Shanahan brings to the 49ers: He brings so much. Of course, his intelligence. He brings leadership. His personality, which is amazing to be the leader of this organization and bring that charismatic personality to us. How he carries himself rubs off on us in a very positive way. He brings so much and has really changed the culture and changed the way how we do things.
You can watch the podcast in its entirety below: