Jeff Ulbrich is Centurians #20

Talking about Ulbrich after he had just transferred from Gavilan JC, Josh Skinner said:
“You should see this guy in the weight room. He bangs his head against the weights before he lifts. HARD.” (HSB)

About his respect for Ulbrich during USC’s 62-7 over UH, then-USC RB Chad Morton said:
“Every time I carried the ball, I was looking for No. 44. He can play the game.” (HSB)

About how he held on to Morton an extra second after a tackle, Ulbrich said:
“Just to let him know I was going to be there every time he touched the football.” (HSB)

Asked how Morton reacted, Ulbrich said:
“He just laughed.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “That start of the 1999 season was no laughing matter. After a disheartening 1998, one in which the Rainbows lost every game, new head coach June Jones had guaranteed a trip to the promised land. Ulbrich bought into that formula — HARD. Even after the season-opening defeat at the hands of Carson Palmer and his powerful Trojans, belief was in his system. This was a man who blew out his knee midway through 1998, only to suit up and play a quarter in the season-ending game with Tom Brady’s Michigan Wolverines.”

About playing against Michigan, Ulbrich said:
“I wanted Michigan.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Ulbrich would later have surgery once the swelling went down and somehow make it back in time for the Trojans just nine months later. The fact he played in both games is testament enough.”

Praising Ulbrich, UH assistant coach George Lumpkin said:
“I’ve coached a lot of linebackers in my time here, and he’s as good as any I’ve been around. He can run. He can hit. And he plays with such intensity, you can’t help but be caught up in what he does.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “What he did that year was break the UH team record for season tackles with 169. The Sunday after he set the mark, which still stands today, I called to let him know it was official. As usual, I got the message machine, but halfway through telling him the record was his, Ulbrich broke in and said, “I know, man. I’m so excited.”

To understand Ulbrich fully, you have to travel back to his early collegiate days at San Jose State. After things didn’t work out with the Spartans, Ulbrich left football to work in a sheet-metal factory, content to walk this path if necessary. He was so good at it, Ulbrich took that knowledge and applied it to refurbishing motorcycles, an off-the-field passion that’s as strong today as his love for football and mixed martial arts. Lifelong friends convinced him he made a wrong turn and not to keep going, so he left the factory life to enroll in junior college, where he eventually caught the eye of UH offensive coordinator Guy Benjamin.”

About being drafted by the 49ers, Ulbrich (who was a fan of the 49ers living in the Bay Area and his mom was once a 49ers cheerleader) said:
“They were my favorite team growing up. My rookie year, it took me a while to feel I was a part of it.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “That first camp in Stockton, Calif., Ulbrich came over at the end of a morning workout and said, “Can you believe this? I’m out here with Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Ken Norton Jr. I still can’t believe it.” That first year, Ulbrich played in four games and had three tackles. In his second season, he started all 14 games he played and finished with 92 tackles, the beginning of a special relationship not often found in the NFL.”

HSB Note: “Due $2.3 million this season, Ulbrich went in and took a voluntary pay cut to $950,000 to improve his chances of avoiding The Turk.”

HSB Note: “If the man they call “Brick” avoids the bring-your-playbook call, he will be among those on the 49ers’ exclusive 10-year wall. He’s not celebrating just yet. The man who takes them one training camp at a time knows he’s no certain bet. But he believes — HARD. And everyone who knows him believes in him as well.”


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