NEW ORLEANS -- Ahmad Brooks never asked his dad what it was like to play in a Super Bowl. On Sunday, Brooks will experience it firsthand with the 49ers, some 30 years after Perry Brooks won a Super Bowl with the 1982 Washington Redskins.
"I just looked at him as 'Dad' and not as a football player," said Brooks, who'll start at left outside linebacker in Super Bowl XLVII.
Perry Brooks, a defensive tackle on two Redskins Super Bowl teams, died of 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 on his father's career with the 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.
Ahmad Brooks, 28, hasn't seen replays of those game, but he's admired 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's AC joint early that game when he collided with running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Brooks missed two days of practice last week but is certain to 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."
Williams tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and Hunter tore his left Achilles tendon. Both players described their injuries as "freak accidents," but they also showed lingering concerns over the surface.
Said Hunter: "Playing on grass, your cleats come out. On turf, sometimes cleats stick."
Williams believes the surface contributed to his noncontact injury: "My cleat got stuck, so my body went one way, and my knee didn't."
"I've never been injured before, so I always thought you could go with a sprained ankle, hairline fracture. Stuff like that is no big deal. But with this one, I knew I was going to be on the shelf for a little bit."
Smith missed the final two regular-season games before producing the 49ers' second-most tackles (18) through two playoff games.
New Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly reportedly is interested in hiring Donatell as his defensive coordinator. Donatell is under contract with the 49ers for next season, so they could block any move short of a head-coaching gig. Donatell said he's had no official contact with the Eagles.