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49ers: Hufanga gave the rookie a pep talk after San Francisco’s win over Tampa Bay over the new role

Rookie safety Jia Ayir Brown played a big role in the 49ers’ 27-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, replacing Talanoa Hufanga, who left in the third quarter with an All-Pro safety who suffered a cruciate ligament injury during the game.

According to Pro Football Focus, Brown was credited with the game-winning interception late in the fourth quarter and two key pass breakups in Sunday’s win.

On Tuesday, Brown spoke to reporters about how he and Hufanga have been communicating as the rookie assumes a key role in the 49ers’ defense.

“Yes, I spoke to him (Hufanga) and wished him nothing but the best,” Brown told reporters. “Everything is a tough time for him, so I’m just trying to keep him updated.”

Brown also revealed that Hufanga immediately gave the rookie a pep talk after San Francisco’s win over Tampa Bay, highlighting the strong bond between the two defensive backs.

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“Right after the game, when everything was going well, he came up to me and told me what a great job I did,” Brown explained. “So I went back to him and tried to keep him in the right mindset and keep his head up and things like that.”

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Brown, a third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, played just 31 snaps for the 49ers’ defense this season before being replaced by Hufanga late in Sunday’s game.

The rookie played 36 defensive snaps against Tampa Bay, surpassing his all-time record set in the 2023 season, and played a key role in stopping the Buccaneers’ final attempt to close a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. .

As Brown faces the daunting task of assuming a starting role on defense with championship expectations on his shoulders, the rookie safety council can take comfort in Hoofanga’s words of comfort and encouragement.

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