49ers veteran safety group leading the way with big-game experience
Feb 9, 2024, 2:30 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm
The San Francisco 49ers are full of young superstars on defense, either in their prime or just coming onto the scene. And then there’s two grizzled veterans manning the backline in Tashaun Gipson Sr. and Logan Ryan.
The safety pairing has a combined age of 65 years old. Typically, playing defensive back in the NFL is a young man’s game, but Ryan and Gipson have been doing this since former president Barack Obama started his second term in office.
But once again, age is just a number, and Father Time hasn’t run out the hourglass on either man just yet.
Both Gipson and Ryan were free-agent pickups due to injuries, occurring at different times.
The former joined the 49ers the final week of the 2022 training camp when safety Jimmie Ward went down with a lower-body injury. “Gip” never gave the job back, and formed a partnership with All-Pro counterpart Talanoa Hufanga for a year and a half. Now set to play in his first Super Bowl in his NFL career, the 33-year-old Gipson is relishing in the moment after so many years of disappointment.
“It’s been way bigger than I thought… I’ve had some of my peers that’s played in the Super Bowl. I’ve seen their IG Live & stuff like that… I was jealous by the way.” 😂 Just being in the moment it was so cool to be a part of this.”— KNBR (@KNBR) February 9, 2024
Tashaun Gipson on his Super Bowl experience pic.twitter.com/Dkt2DXhJEQ
“I think yesterday was kind of like my first moment of realizing like, ‘man, you’re at the Super Bowl’. So to imagine that atmosphere…I think it’s gonna be exciting. I think that everybody is excited about this opportunity. But it’s surreal. It’s still crazy to think I went from hosting Super Bowl parties for 11 years straight, and it’s so cool. I’m humbled by this opportunity.”
The latter of the pair, Ryan, joined the 49ers leading up to Week 12 of the 2023 regular season, after Hufanga suffered a season-ending ACL tear against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former Super Bowl champ has been a valuable addition for the Red & Gold, alleviating some of the depth concerns halfway through the year.
Additionally, Ryan has become a trusted confidant for Gipson, combining their 65 years of life and football experience to make the 49ers’ backline even better.
“I’ve always been a big Logan fan, love his game, everything that he could do,” Gipson said about Ryan. “To actually be here [together], and we share those compliments with each other and it’s mutual respect. So to have him here, he’s still as savvy as ever man.”
And vice versa, as Logan Ryan, is very appreciative of the 49ers giving him a chance at earning another ring for his collection. In turn, the 32-year-old passes down his wisdom to the young guard in the secondary room, looking to help SF any way he can.
“I just think in life you learn from experience, that’s the best teacher what to do, good or bad. And I’ve told stories to the guys where I was scared to lose games,” Ryan shared. “We play DB, I think it’s one of the hardest positions in football and one of the hardest positions in modern-day social media. You got to be comfortable and have thick skin and I tell them of my experience of that and my Super Bowl experiences and whatnot. Hopefully, they take something out of it, but it’s my truth.”
Upcoming Schedule for the San Francisco 49ers
- Sunday, February 11th – Super Bowl LVIII – San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 3:30 PM PST