Femmefan and I have been treated wonderfully by the San Francisco 49ers since the start of Femmefan. Over the last nine years they have given me access to players, something typically reserved for the media big boys. You know the ones, the media types that do this for a living. It is a bit unusual to get player access when you are writing for a Web site and a female fan Web site at that.
In November of 2006  I conducted an interview with San Francisco 49ers fullback Moran Norris. Moran played for the 49ers in 2006 and 2007, paving the way, through his blocking, for two record setting seasons for 49ers running back, Frank Gore. In 2008 Moran was let go by the 49ers and played the 2008 season in Detroit. But, Moran, who is described as Frank Gore’s best friend on the team has returned to once again block and lead the way for Frank Gore.
The 49ers are indeed a different team under the leadership of Mike Singletary. That was pretty obvious to me and anyone else who attended pre-season training camp practices. The team seems to have a renewed vitality and enthusiasm. They take the practice field hooting and hollering. In spite of practicing this preseason with pads and banging one on one in Coach Singletary’s “Nutcracker” drills, their enthusiasm and energy is more reminiscent of college players than professional NFL players.
I had the opportunity to speak with Moran Norris on Wednesday August 26 after the 4 p.m. practice. Moran and I had a very nice, casual conversation about the 49ers, Frank Gore, Coach Singletary and the 2009 season.
FF: Moran how does the 49ers running game in 2009 compare to the running game of 2006 and 2007.
Moran: We’re trying to go back to the power running game. I’m just glad to be back blocking for Frank Gore, we complement each other really well. I’m gonna try to take it one game at a time and get the ball rolling.
FF: Now you have not only Frank Gore, one of the premier backs in the league to block for, but rookie Glen Coffee is looking really good too.
Moran: Yes, he is doing good. I just have to adapt to Coffee’s running style.
We have to learn each other’s moves and learn to anticipte the moves and trust each other.
FF: Is he a different type of runner than Gore? Do you have to change the way you block for different runners?
Moran: Yes, you do. Some runners move different from others, it’s good because everybody has their own style of running. I haven’t studied Coffee much, since he just got here. I consider Frank an all in one back, he can make you miss, he can shake and bake you in the open field, so I consider him an all in one back.
FF: So is this like fullback heaven for you with Gore and Coffee as his backup?
Moran: Laughs, yeah, I love it. We put in the time and we trust each other. We’re just trying to get it back on track, together.
FF: Did Frank miss you when you weren’t here?
Moran: Yes, he did.
FF: So Frank is happy to have you back?
Moran: Yeah, we’re hoping that it will show in the games.
FF: In 2008 you played for the Detroit Lions. They lost every game that season. How was your experience with the Detroit Lions?
Moran: Oh it was okay, it was a job. I had been released by the 49ers and even though we didn’t win any games it was better than sitting at home. It was a tough year but once you get cut you just want a place to play football.
FF: Now you have Coach Singletary, Rathman and Raye. Coach Singletary has made a real impression on those who follow the 49ers. He seems to have really motivated the players and has a certain style of communicating with them. How does he mentor you and how does he coach you?
Moran: He was one of the best players to play the game and so it means a whole lot to have him as a coach. Players can follow him more than regular coaches that never played the game. He’s been in the trenches and you have a lot of respect for a coach that played the game. I’m not saying you wouldn’t respect a coach who hasn’t played the game, but you know that this guy has been in the trenches and been in our shoes before.
FF: He was not just a player but a great player.
Moran: Yes a great player, one of the best.
FF: How about Coach Rathman who played your position, fullback, and wore the same number, number 44?
Moran: He played the game and he played here and he was a good fullback as well.
He went to the Super Bowl and has his Super Bowl ring I just like being around him so I can pick his brain.
FF: Watching the practice today, I thought the defense outplayed the offense. Which side has been winning the battle in practice, the offense or the defense?
Moran: It be off and on. Some days they (defense) win, some days we win. They can’t win all the time! I think every dog has his day.
FF: The 49ers play their third preseason game against the Cowboys this week.
It’s only preseason but it’s a closer look at the regular season. Are you planning to catch the ball in this game and this season?
Moran: I plan to catch the ball every time I go in the game!
I learned during the 2006 interview with Moran that he is married to Tamara who helps run his Foundation. In December of 2006 his first child, little London Simone Morris was only three weeks old. When I spoke with Moran on August 26 he told me they had become parents again, they have a new baby girl, Chloe.
Tamara Norris is very involved with Moran’s foundation, Brothers Against Guns. The foundation hosts youngsters at 49ers games, provides financial support and teaches them about life skills, hard work and the importance of good character. The foundation began in Houston, Moran’s hometown, as his way of giving back. He has now expanded the initiatives and programs to include Bay Area children.
Moaran says he is happy to be back in San Francisco blocking for his friend Frank Gore. Moran is leading the way not only for Frank Gore, but for many youngsters who are being helped by his foundation. His football camp involves 150 kids, the dinner they host grows every year, this year they had 185 in attendance. Moran tries to go and talk to them at schools every so often to try and motivate them to do the right thing. (As we talk about this Moran asks a passing player to get him a burger with cheese and bacon ) I am obviously keeping him from eating! So I wrapped up the interview to allow Moran to get something to eat and get in his lifting time.
Moran is happy to be “home” again. We share his happiness and wish him, his family, and of course the San Francisco 49ers success.
You can read more about Moran Norris’s Foundation  here.
Originally published on FemmeFan
Photo courtesy of FemmeFan