Before DeSean Jackson signed with Washington this past April, the seventh-year wide receiver seriously considered first taking a formal visit to the 49ers.
He played college football in the Bay Area at Cal and grew up in Long Beach.
Jackson even spoke with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh — they faced each other when Harbaugh coached Stanford — and others in the organization before the three-time Pro Bowler ultimately chose the Redskins shortly after being released by Philadelphia.
“It was a close call, and I almost made the trip to come out there,” said Jackson, who will face the 49ers today. “Obviously, Washington did what they did and they kept me here and made everything right.”
Despite the losing and frustrations of a disappointing season with Washington (3-7), Jackson considers himself to be in the right place.
“Being born and raised in California, would love to be there, love to play there,” he said. “It was just a better fit and better situation to be where I'm at now. That played a part.”
The 49ers are doing just fine with the deep and talented receiving group they have, led by Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson.
Boldin challenged this group to treat each game like a one-game season in which San Francisco faces elimination, and that seems to have struck a chord with this group — through the injuries to star defenders and an offense that has been inconsistent.
San Francisco (6-4) has won two in a row to stay in the thick of the playoff chase.
“We're right back in this thing,” Niners safety Eric Reid said. “We have to keep winning. It's a one-game season from here on out. We have to get a win if we hope to make the playoffs.”
Colin Kaepernick threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns in a win at Washington last November, two of those to Anquan Boldin.
Here are some things to watch for today at Levi's Stadium:
BROOKS' WORKLOAD: Ahmad Brooks expects to be right back in the mix a week after being benched for the second half of San Francisco's win against the Giants following some harsh words directed at defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
While Brooks plans to play — he has started all 58 games under fourth-year coach Harbaugh — he said he will handle such situations differently if something similar comes up again.
“Who I am as a person, as a football player, I expect to play,” Brooks said. “That's just who I am. I expect to play, I expect to be out there. That's it.”
GORE'S GAINS: Following a three-game stretch in which he totaled only 39 carries, San Francisco's Frank Gore has had 42 chances the past two games and come close to his third 100-yard game of the season.
Getting Gore and the running game going usually sets the tone for the offense.
STOUT PASS RUSH: With Aldon Smith back for his second game following a nine-game suspension by the league, the 49ers will look to establish a strong pass rush again. They had six sacks in last November's matchup with the Redskins.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden is concerned with Aldon Smith and Justin Smith up front. Especially after San Francisco pressured the New York Giants' Eli Manning into five interceptions last week.