49ers’ Ahmad Brooks ‘benching’ himself was not ‘Forty Niner’ Way

San Francisco 49ers v New Orleans Saints

While the San Francisco 49ers (6-4) got the win, it wasn’t without controversy as 49ers OLB Ahmad Brooks was basically ‘benched’ in the second-quarter. A scenario I envisioned, as I said on KNBR just two days ago that rookie fifth-round pick (No. 150) OLB Aaron Lynch would be the starter alongside All-Pro talent OLB Aldon Smith, I did not anticipate Brooks being fully disregarded, as I thought he would at least stay on as a two-down run defender. However, that was not the case as Lynch and Smith took the starter snaps after the second series while last year’s third-round pick OLB Corey Lemonier rotated in on spot duty. But the question remains, why didn’t Brooks at least garner Lemonier’s role, especially if he wasn’t injured?

After the game, 49ers beat writers caught up with Brooks and he said, “I’m good man. I’m not taking any questions today. Maybe later this week. Not today.”


49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh then said, “we’re working through something.” What they are “working through” is anyone’s guess, but I would think it would have something to do with Brooks’ reduced role going into the game as he would be splitting time with the rookie fifth-round pick on nickel packages. In fact NFL.com reported that Brooks actually benched himself. Talk about a team player.

[Related: 49ers’ OLB Aldon Smith and OLB Aaron Lynch create ‘double trouble’ for NFL]

Earlier this month, FOX Sports Jay Glazer reported that Brooks was almost traded to the Cleveland Browns at the Oct. 28 trade deadline, which DC Vic Fangio said was “out of line.” Was it really out of line? I’m not so sure. The beat writers caught up with Lynch after his great performance and he said:

“Honestly, I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know what the deal was. I love the guy. He’s like a big brother to me. So as far as what happened off the field or on the field, I don’t know what happened. He never talked about that.”

With Brooks scheduled to make $9.6 million next season, do not be surprised if the 49ers ask him to take a significant paycut to remain with the team. A scenario he already was asked to do, Brooks may be on the outside looking in from here on out as Lynch has played much better than his friend and teammate. Lynch currently ranks as the fifth best player for all 3-4 outside linebackers while Brooks ranks second to last.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.