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Home is where the Hearst Is
March 15th 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The 49ers and their fans got a huge boost of confidence on Wednesday when running back Garrison Hearst signed on with the team for another six years. It's a long contract to offer a running back who's been in the league for ten years and only been running for five of them. Nevertheless, after winning the comeback players of the year for an unprecedented second time in his career, amassing over 1200 yards and taking a trip to Hawaii to play in the Pro Bowl, Hearst is happy to be home with the 49ers, and the 49ers are thrilled to have him.

The two sides have always seemed to be there for each other, and it seems it will remain that way for the rest of Hearst's career. But having Hearst back is more than just having a Pro Bowl rusher. It starts with the character Garrison is, and how he epitomizes, the 49ers "Winning With Class" motto. His attitude off the field and his camradare with the rest of the team make him the ideal 49ers' player. In his return to the team the 49ers will bring back all of their offensive skill positions, and that should please Mariucci.

While Hearst's role is likely to decline over the next six years, and his counter part Barlow's role increase, it will be Hearst's mentor ship for the young Barlow that will make a huge difference in his career. The two are an awesome one, two punch and with Beasley back the 49ers will be ready to run all over the opposition in the comming season. There is no way this team, with it's current players can fall into the rut of 'one dimension' that ruined it's chances under the latter guidance of George Seifert.

Mariucci loves to run, and with such a strong backfield for the second consecutive year, we are bound to see lots of it. Chances are, somewhere down the line this will upset the receivers, but it should help keep Garcia healthy, and it should help the 49ers control games. The 49ers next step will have to be to improve the offensive line, so when they match up against bigger defensive lines, like they did versus Green Bay in the playoffs, they will still be able to open up the holes for the ground game. With subtle improvements in the offense the 49ers can drastically improve, and with the central core of the offense returning, the coaching staff particularly Mariucci should be rejoicing.

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