NEW ORLEANS -- Ahmad Brooks never asked his dad what it was like to play in a Super Bowl. Nor can he now.
Perry Brooks, a defensive tackle on two Super Bowl teams with the Washington Redskins, passed away from a heart attack March 1, 2010. It was Ahmad who discovered his father's body in his parents' Woodbridge, Va., home.
Sitting in the Superdome's stands during Tuesday's media session, Ahmad Brooks reflected back on his father's career with the Washington Redskins, from 1977-84. The Redskins beat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII in the strike-shortened 1982 season, and they fell to the Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII.
"I just looked at him as dad, and not as a football player," said Brooks, who'll start at left outside linebacker for the 49ers in Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII.
During his childhood, Ahmad Brooks did find himself admiring his father's Super Bowl ring, which is now kept safe by his mother, Vergie.
"I took it to school one time," Brooks recalled. "I was in first grade and we had show and tell.
"My father was looking for it all day. I made sure I didn't lose it. I ended up putting it back in the jewelry box."
Now in his seventh season, Brooks has started every game for the 49ers, and he helped clinch the NFC Championship by knocking down a key third-down pass to thwart an Atlanta Falcons' drive in the 49ers' 28-24 win Jan. 20.
Brooks injured his left shoulder earlier that game, hurting his AC joint while colliding with diminutive but surprisingly powerful running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Brooks missed two days of practice last week but will certainly play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
"It's time to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to San Francisco," Brooks said. "And I'd love to have that diamond ring." If he does, the Brooks family would join Bob and Brian Griese in that rare club featuring a father and son who've won Super Bowls.
Last week, coach Jim Harbaugh echoed defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's declaration that the 49ers' smartest offseason move was to re-sign Brooks before he hit free agency in March. Brooks returned at the tune of six years, $44.5 million with $17.5 million guaranteed.
"Last year, I was working for a contract and to be a starter," Brooks said. "This year, I stayed in San Jose and trained all offseason for this moment right here."