“You can’t coach heart.” Those are some words of wisdom that I learned from my coach, at a very young age. It is the ability to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Whether it is giving up your body or playing injured, you can’t coach heart, goes beyond the x’s and o’s.
No player exemplifies this more than 49ers defensive end Justin Smith. The player known as “Cowboy” has been playing with a partially torn left triceps throughout the playoffs. Playing at a position that’s physically demanding while dealing with constant double-teams, Cowboy has been surprisingly productive. When Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee asked him about his threshold for pain he said:
I know how many games I have left-four quarters.
Although Cowboy has yet to record a sack in this year’s playoffs, he is already making players around him better, especially linebacker Aldon Smith, who has been experiencing some pass-rushing success as of late.
If the 49ers hope to win Super Bowl XLVII, they will need to have Cowboy suck it up for just 60 more minutes as they prepare for their “Quest for Six.”