Feature on Travis LaBoy

MIJ = Marin Independent Journal

MIJ Note: “GIVEN that Travis LaBoy worshiped the 49ers as a kid in Marin and given that the 49ers didn’t even pursue the 27-year-old, 6-foot-3, 260-pound pass rusher when he was a free agent in the offseason, LaBoy had just cause to spike the football in their face with 1:49 left in the game Sunday when he had a victory-sealing quarterback sack and fumble recovery. LaBoy didn’t spike the ball, however. He stole it.”

About how Travis hid the ball in order to give it to him, Travis’ brother CJ said:
“He’s coming to the sideline trying to hide the ball. He turned around and came over and handed it to me. It was pretty sweet.” (MIJ)

MIJ Note: “With his brother in the stands at Candlestick Park along with his father Cliff (who flew in from Hawaii), his stepfather and mother, Art and Angela Curley of Larkspur, his stepbrother, Preston, and some of Preston’s former Redwood High football teammates plus a couple of LaBoy’s Marin Catholic High buddies, LaBoy enjoyed a happy homecoming. He had a team-high two QB sacks in his Arizona Cardinals regular-season debut and his team left victorious.”

About how the win is what mattered, not anything with him and the 49ers, Travis said:
“Really it was just getting the win. Arizona is trying to get rid of that losing persona that they’ve been stuck with for so many years. I just want to keep it rolling. Whether it was here (at Candlestick Park) or somewhere else, it was nice to have it here.” (MIJ)

About how the 49ers did not talk with him this offseason, Travis said:
“They had no spots for me. Of course, I would have loved to have played for them, my hometown team. I grew up a Niner fan but I’m very happy playing in Arizona.” (MIJ)

MIJ Note: “How big of a 49ers fan was LaBoy? His father was an All-American defensive back at the University of Hawaii who competed in the 49ers summer training camp twice. His stepfather is a longtime 49ers season ticket holder who used to take LaBoy and his brother to home games. They would tailgate in the Candlestick Park parking lot and long for the rare chance to have ballpark junk food, chocolate malt ice cream cups, and soda pop as treats. Because Art Curley had only two season tickets then, they would watch most of the game on TV in their RV then eventually wander into the stadium.”

About how they always said that Travis would play in the 49ers stadium, Angela Curley said:
“Art and I used to say ‘Travis is going to play here someday.’ We always thought he would be a 49er. However, coming as a Cardinal is as good as it gets.” (MIJ)

About how his favorite 49ers were Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Steve Young, and then Ricky Watters, Travis said:
“When Ricky Watters came through, he was my dude. I never met him but I was a big Watters fan.” (MIJ)

About how Travis cared about the players on offense until he played football, CJ said:
“He was more offensive focused when he was younger. Once he got his first hit (in Pop Warner) under his belt, he was all Charles Haley and Bill Romanowski.” (MIJ)

About how he didn’t start playing defense regularly until the playoffs of his junior year in high school, Travis said:
“Next thing you know I’m going to college playing defense.” (MIJ)

MIJ Note: “The Titans selected LaBoy in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft out of the University of Hawaii. The 49ers drafted Oklahoma State wide receiver Rashaun Woods and Alabama guard Justin Smiley before LaBoy was off the board that year. The 49ers have had two chances to get him. The Titans drafted him first and the Cardinals took him next as a free agent.”

About Arizona signing him, Travis said with a grin:
“Maybe I was the cheapest guy on the market.” (MIJ)

MIJ Note: “The 49ers signed Justin Smith in the offseason as a free agent to a six-year, $45 million dollar contract including $20 million guaranteed. The Cardinals signed LaBoy three days later to a five-year, $22 million contract with $7.5 million guaranteed to play their “predator” position, weak outside linebacker. Who got the better bargain on Sunday?”

About how they are happy to have gotten Travis, Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said:
“We’ve said all along we were excited to get Travis. We thought the position that he was playing for us he would be a dynamic player and have an opportunity to make plays, just like he did (Sunday).” (MIJ)

MIJ Note: “LaBoy only wishes he had a chance to do it with the 49ers. He’s wearing No. 55 with Arizona, the same jersey number he wore when he played for his Central Marin Pop Warner team and dreamed about playing at Candlestick Park.”

About watching Travis play against the 49ers, Angela Curley said:
“For us, it’s very surreal. He visualized it his entire life. He always knew he would be in the NFL. He always knew he would come back and play here.” (MIJ)

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