Raiders cornerback Tarell Brown has a fairly good idea what to expect this week from 49ers receivers Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.
Brown spent his first seven NFL seasons with the 49ers and regularly squared off against the two receivers during practices when hitting was kept to a minimum and the competition light.
This time there won't be any restrictions, and Brown is looking forward to it.
“I'll have the opposite jersey so it won't be practice, that's the biggest thing,” Brown said. “It'll be exciting. They'll be hyped up to play against me, I'll be hyped up to play against them. It's always great competition when you go against guys you're familiar with.”
Brown has already exchanged a few friendly phone calls with some of his former teammates across San Francisco Bay, but the love almost assuredly wasn't shared with San Francisco's front office.
A fifth-round pick in 2007 who started 42 games over his final three seasons with the 49ers, Brown didn't exactly part on amicable terms. He was offered a three-year contract to stay in San Francisco — which Brown termed a “slap in the face” — and eventually signed a $3.5 million, one-year deal with Oakland.
He hasn't looked back since, even as the losses pile up for his current team.
The Raiders limp into the game at 1-11 and steaming toward the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft. The 49ers (7-5) have also had their share of stumbles this season but still cling to playoff hopes.
“I wouldn't change it,” Brown said. “Once you sign up for something, man, you gotta finish it. I'm that type of guy where when I sign up for something I'm going to give you everything I have until the end. I'm still jacked up about signing here. I love the guys, I love the locker room, I love the organization. We just don't have the wins that we feel like we should have.”
Brown signed with the Raiders along with former San Francisco teammate Carlos Rogers to help improve Oakland's secondary. It hasn't worked out as hoped.
Oakland is ranked ninth in pass defense but the Raiders have only forced eight turnovers — tied with the New York Jets for fewest in the NFL — and have only five interceptions.
Rogers started the first seven games before being placed on injured reserve last week with a knee injury.