SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A circumspect Brandon Jacobs, backing off a bit from comments a day earlier, expressed appreciation Thursday to the San Francisco 49ers for allowing him to heal a leg injury which has kept him from playing a single NFL game this season.
Jacobs, the big running back who couldn't reach an agreement with the Giants on a restructured contract after the Super Bowl season of 2011, joined the 49ers in March. He hurt his knee in a preseason game Aug. 18 against Houston, didn't return to practice until mid-September and wasn't in pads until the week before San Francisco's Sept. 30 game against the Jets.
But some 24 hours later, Jacobs said his emotions got the best of him.
"I'm competitive in nature," Jacobs, surrounded by reporters, said. "I want to get out and go. I've played in worse situations than I am in now. But I got a rare opportunity to be a player on a 53-man roster in the NFL. I have a rare opportunity to get 100 percent healthy. And after I got the injury I knew I was going to be down a long time. They decided to keep me anyway. That's saying a lot for this organization."
Jacobs said the opportunity to face the Giants was on his mind. He set the team's record for rushing touchdowns, 56, in his seven seasons there.
"I spoke to coach [Jim] Harbaugh a couple times in the last couple days," Jacobs said. "We ironed it out. We got it done. I understand where the coach is coming from. The coach understands me, from him playing football, and understanding the athlete and competitive nature of wanting to get out and playing the game and helping the team win.
"And not only that, play against my former team, but in this case playing against my former team is not important. What's important is the win."
On Monday, the day after the Niners crushed the Buffalo Bills, 45-3, Harbaugh was asked why Jacobs was inactive. "Once we went through the week," the coach answered. "He's still not there."