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Thursday, February 3, 2011
NFC West lineup: Bradford, Rice, Montana

By Mike Sando

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The most optimistic NFC West blogger could not have scripted a better morning during Super Bowl week.

Catching up with St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford had been the goal, and I was quite pleased to find him at ESPN's Super Bowl headquarters.

The NFC West happiness meter shot past "quite pleased" and into "beyond ecstatic" range upon learning that a couple of other guys with roots in the division -- Joe Montana and Jerry Rice -- would also be dropping by Thursday morning.

Bradford shed light on his plans for the offseason and said he would try to organize informal practices in the case of a lockout. He also reflected on the Rams' season, specifically their play-calling against Seattle in Week 17.

Rice, promoting his work with the NFL's "Take it to the House" program, discussed whether Aaron Rodgers was about to pull a Steve Young with a breakout Super Bowl performance after replacing a legend. We also discussed the current 49ers, something I'll expand upon later Thursday.

Montana offered a few thoughts on former teammate Charles Haley, a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He held up Haley and Fred Dean as the best pure pass-rushers he played with on the 49ers.

I'll break out a separate item on Bradford. Rice's comments will play into a piece on the state of the 49ers. I spoke less formally with Montana.