Ahmad Brooks remembers going to RFK Stadium as a child to cheer for the Washington Redskins, the team his father, Perry Brooks, played for as a defensive tackle from 1978-84.
Brooks would wear his burgundy and gold and watch in admiration as the Redskins of old authored their storied careers.
On Sunday, Brooks, now an outside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, will face the Redskins at FedEx Field for the first time in his career.
“I never thought I’d be playing against the Redskins growing up,” Brooks said. “I always saw myself becoming a pro athlete of some kind, whether football or basketball. But yeah, the Redskins. That was my childhood favorite. I’ve never been to FedEx Field, so I’m looking forward to it”
Brooks starred at C.D. Hylton High School, where he helped his team to two state championships. In 2001 he was named All-Met defensive player of the year and earned USA Today high school defensive player of the year honors as well. Brooks went on to play for the University of Virginia but following his junior year declared for the 2006 supplemental draft and was taken in the third round by Cincinnati. Two years later, however, the Bengals waived him, and San Francisco picked him up, but he didn’t play a game for the 49ers until the 2009 season.
This season, the 6-foot-3, 259-pound Brooks has emerged as a starter at outside linebacker for the 49ers, starting all seven games and recording 22 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble.
“I finally feel like I’ve found a home here in San Francisco,” Brooks said. “Even though this is the last year of my contract, I feel like I’m going to stay here. This is where I want to be.”
Brooks and the 49ers have gotten off to a surprising 6-1 start and look to extend their win streak against the struggling Redskins. Brooks had to round up 19 tickets for family and friends (a fortunately reasonable number according to Brooks, who says former Maryland star Vernon Davis had to buy 90 tickets). Brooks hopes to have a special day, although he doesn’t totally know what type of emotions he will feel in his homecoming.
“I expect I’ll have some goose bumps,” Brooks said. “I’ll have more people out there watching me in the stands than usual. I may be a little nervous. But hey, if you’re not nervous, you’re not ready.”