MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Former Highland Park teammate and close friend Kyle Weems was the first person to text Michael Wilhoite on Sunday following another tough loss.
Weems showed his support and reminded Wilhoite to keep his head up after the San Francisco 49ers dropped to 1-10 following a 31-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s disappointing,” said Wilhoite, who had four tackles and a pass-breakup. “I feel like all year we’ve shown flashes of being a good team. Like in the first half we looked really good out there–there’s a couple mistakes on defense that cost us a little bit, but we were still in the game and it’s been like that all year. It just seems like we show flashes of being a really good team and we just can’t find that ‘W’ so that’s frustrating and it’s hard. But it’s football and you have a game every Sunday and you’ve got to be ready to play every Sunday. We can’t dwell on the losses. We can’t dwell on the past. We just have to keep moving forward.”
Even with the support from Weems, other friends, and family members, it has been a tough season for Wilhoite and the 49ers, who are four years removed from playing in a Super Bowl in the middle of making the playoffs in Wilhoite’s first three years (2011-13) with the organization.
“I’d say (the atmosphere around the team) has been good,” Wilhoite said. “For what it looks like and I’m sure from what people think from the outside looking in they probably think all of these negative things that we’re fighting with each other, we’re not doing this, we’re not doing that, but it’s not like that. We come in every day. We love each other. I enjoy this team. We enjoy playing together and we work hard. It’s just that we’ve got to find that ‘W’ and we’re close. We just have to keep going. I don’t think anyone is pointing any fingers at anybody or anybody is frustrated with each other. Everybody is just frustrated with losing and their own play, and everybody knows they just have to play a little bit better.”
Wilhoite, who turns 30 next week, is in his sixth NFL season, all with the 49ers after going undrafted out of Washburn in 2011. He signed a 1-year, $1.67 million contract with the 49ers in the offseason and will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. An official in the 49ers personnel department informed TopekaHoops they would like to bring back Wilhoite next season.
Wilhoite has seen his playing time decrease in 2016 after being a full-time starter in each of the last two seasons as he started all 28 games he played in averaging 58.3 snaps a game. He entered Sunday’s game averaging 26.6 snaps in 10 games, making three starts.
“It was tough at the beginning,” Wilhoite said. “You always want to be out there every snap and that’s the goal, but at the same time you’ve got to understand your role and understand this is a team game, and if you’re asked to do something else you’ve just got to go do it. At the end of the day, I always remind myself that I’m not playing for myself, I’m not playing for anybody else other than to glory God. If I go out there and play anything less than 100 percent, I’m not doing that. So that’s the key. I think that’s how you have to approach it. You just have to go out there and enjoy playing the game of football, embrace every opportunity, and go play hard no matter where it is.”
Wilhoite has played in all 11 games totaling 45 tackles.
Wilhoite spent one year at Highland Park graduating in 2005 and was a starter on the Scots’ basketball team averaging 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds while knocking down 43 3-pointers in 22 games helping the team to a 16-6 mark.
The 49ers play at Chicago next week.