Harbaugh: This team is never 'satisfied'
Ahmad Brooks deflected two critical passes in the NFC Championship and injured Matt Ryan's non-throwing shoulder. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SANTA CLARA -- Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks returned to limited practice on Friday after sustaining a left shoulder injury early in the 49ers' NFC Championship Game.
Brooks has also been bothered by a finger that he dislocated in training camp, a team source said. But there is no question he will be in the starting lineup when the 49ers face the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 in New Orleans, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said on Friday.
Brooks played 63 of the 49ers' 67 defensive snaps in the 49ers' 28-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons and came through with three huge fourth-quarter plays.
"Vic Fangio made the comment the other day that smartest thing we did as an organization was pay Ahmad Brooks and keep him as a 49er," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "And we would all concur with that."
The 49ers signed Brooks to a six-year, $42 million contract last February to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent. Brooks responded with 6.5 sacks and six passes defensed.
He batted down two crucial passes from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter and delivered a hit that separated his left (non-throwing) shoulder late in the game.
"He's done it with very little fanfare, in terms of how he talks about himself," Harbaugh said. "But he's been a tireless worker. Go back to the first days of the offseason program. (I) don't know if he ever missed a day. And been a great contributor, great leader. And really fine performer on the field."