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Playoff baggage? 49ers sport theirs proudly

1/11/2012

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley looked every bit the part of NFL offensive lineman Wednesday.

Staley, wearing a black tank top with gray sweats, fiddled with a can of chewing tobacco while fielding questions at his locker.

But thanks to running back Frank Gore, Staley and the San Francisco 49ers' other offensive linemen were also sporting new Louis Vuitton bags. That should come in handy for Staley, who said his previous luggage consisted of a "duffel bag from the Motor City Bowl and a Nike bag that I got for free."

Gore, coming off a 1,200-yard rushing season, was obviously appreciative of his blockers.

The media spotlight is shining brighter than usual as the 49ers prepare for their divisional-round playoff game against New Orleans on Saturday. Staley met with reporters after a session with ESPN's Chris Berman.

Earlier, team officials presented Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Smith at a podium, an unusual sight for the usually camera-averse lineman. Smith, though always polite and professional when fulfilling his league-mandated media duties, doesn't like to talk about himself in public.

Teammates kidded Smith about being a media star when he returned from the podium to his locker. Smith joked that he planned to start a Twitter account next.