If there was a way George Odum showed off his hard-hitting side without shoulder pads or a helmet, he did just that in front of camera phones, computer screens, voice recorders and reporters in his introductory press conference with the San Francisco 49ers.
Officially introduced as the newest $10.95 million addition to the defense and special teams unit on Tuesday, March 22, the now former Indianapolis Colts safety likely won over several 49er fans with his words before taking to Levi’s Stadium. He’s letting it be known: He’s going to run through future opponents.
“This game is more mental than physical. So if I tell myself I’m gonna run through a dude’s face, I’m gonna do that,” Odum said via David Lombardi of The Athletic.
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Here’s another notation that’ll pique the interest of the 49ers Faithful: His nickname.
“They used to call me ‘The Animal’ in college (Central Arkansas),” Odum told the Bay Area media. “One of my coaches called me ‘The Animal’ because I’m always hunting on the field.”
Here’s an example of that animal who lifted, tossed and tussled opponents to the turf in the Football Championship Subdivision realm:
Reason for Odum’s Presence
Again, the 49ers are paying Odum nearly $11 million to bolster two spots: The safety position and the special teams unit.
But that’s not the only reason why Odum is being brought in to the Bay Area.
“They brought me in to better the room, compete (at safety),” Odum said. “At the end of the day, they want me to compete and to take a spot. I’m going to do my very best, give it a go every single day. And also for special teams.”
That likely means he’s out for Jaquiski Tartt’s starting spot, especially if the 49ers end up parting ways with the free agent. It could also mean taking the starting reins from second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga, who showed some early promise in three starts while snatching 32 tackles, 24 solo, one stop behind the line of scrimmage and the punt block he returned for the touchdown against the Green Bay Packers. But even if Hufanga isn’t the starter, there’s the strong belief that both Odum and Hufanga will tag team on some of the special teams units.
Odum leaves Indy with 150 tackles, 111 solo and two quarterback hits per Pro Football Reference. He also leaves the Colts as a 2020 Pro Bowl selection as a special teamer.
Turns out he’s frustrated NFC West opponents before — one on this pass breakup against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas 2021:
He also did this to Buffalo Bills franchise quarterback Josh Allen:
It’s not just aggression and versatility he’s expected to add inside the 49ers’ facility, though.
“The leadership in the room, just being another vet in the room, showing the way of my success rate right now, and moving forward from there. Just trying to help each player get better, help me get better, the room get better, help the room improve. I guess that’s the main reason I came in, just to try to help the organization as a whole,” Odum said. “Whether it’s special teams or safety, I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”
Especially if it means “running through a dude’s face” and unleashing his inner “animal.”
“My mindset has always been a dog,” Odum said. “I’m always going to hit. I’m never afraid of hitting. I’m never slowing down at the point of contact. I’m not going to slow down.”