JiAyir Brown

49ers rookie Ji'Ayir Brown ready to step up where needed in Week 1

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SANTA CLARA — Veteran safety Tashaun Gipson, 33, perhaps feeling the effects of his 11 previous seasons in the NFL, has taken some time off from practices as the regular season approaches.

Gipson said he is dealing with various “nicks and bruises" but nothing he figures will keep him out of game action.

Although there is no indication rookie safety Ji’Ayir Brown will be needed to step into a role on defense when the 49ers open the regular season on Sunday at the Pittsburgh Steelers, he said he will be ready for anything.

Brown likely will suit up and have a role on special teams while also serving as a backup to Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga.

“Whatever way the coaches want me to make an impact on this game, that’s how I’m going to make an impact on this game,” said Brown, whom the 49ers selected in the third round with the No. 87 overall selection.

“Whether it’s on special teams or out there with the defense, whatever coaches see as the best fit for me, come Week 1, that’s what I’ll be doing.”

Brown was a high school star in New Jersey who continued his football career at Lackawanna Community College in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He went on to Penn State, where he played three years and was a team captain and named the team MVP in his final season.

Brown was drafted to play for an NFL team across the country. But Brown's first meaningful NFL action will take place close to home, where he said “everybody’s coming” to watch him. 

“It all kind of started in PA, as far as coming to college,” he said. “Now, I’m getting to start my NFL journey in PA. So it’s a big moment for me. It’s the start of a new chapter in my book. Can’t wait to see what’s in the book.”

Brown made it through a rather smooth rookie training camp. He did not appear to experience some of the difficulties a lot of young players go through early in their careers.

“I feel like I picked up everything fast,” he said. “God blessed me with the ability to understand football. I think my understanding of football helped me to make the 53-man roster and help this team out as much as I can.

“Right now, I’m just trying to expand my knowledge even more. You can never know too much, so I’m constantly learning, constantly taking knowledge from the older guys and the coaches and just trying to add to my game.”

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