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Owner Skips Pep Talk

By Mcclatchy News Service

Owner Eddie DeBartolo dropped by the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room Friday to wish the players luck for Sunday’s NFC championship game against Dallas.

Did DeBartolo deliver any pep talks?

“I don’t have to say anything to them,” he said. “Nobody has to talk to them, believe me.

“I think they’re confident. Hopefully they’re going to play a great game. We’re playing a great team, let’s face it.”

DeBartolo said he was concerned about the possibility of bad weather and a sloppy field at Candlestick Park.

“That’s one thing we can’t do anything about,” he said.

Slipping And sliding

The 49ers, fresh from two days on relatively dry fields in Tempe, Ariz., practiced on a slippery grass field at Stanford. Players took turns slipping on the wet turf, but no one was injured.

“It reminded me of the type of field we might be playing on Sunday,” coach George Seifert said. “It was good to get us back into the groove of what we could be up against.”

League officials maintain the field won’t be a major problem.

Groundskeepers have kept the field covered most of the week when not repairing any turf dug up from last week’s playoff game between the 49ers and Chicago. The forecast for Sunday is for showers but less intense rain than has been falling.

Tight end Brent Jones and several other 49ers feel that whatever the condition of the field, it will either favor them or won’t matter.

“I believe the Cowboys have played their last seven games on AstroTurf, so coming to our field (Dallas’ last grass game, a 21-14 loss) will take some adjusting,” Jones said.

Dent no cinch

Seifert said there was a chance defensive end Richard Dent might not play.

Dent, who missed the last 14 games of the regular season with torn ligaments in his right knee, was in for three plays last Saturday against Chicago.

“The work this week, there’s a little bit of a question on it,” Seifert said. “We’re more optimistic than not. We’ll make that decision (today).”

Smith will start

The waiting continues for Dallas running back Emmitt Smith and his strained left hamstring.

Smith practiced with the team in Irving, Texas, and after the team arrived in San Francisco on Friday night, coach Barry Switzer said his star runner would start.

America’s underdogs

The Cowboys are taking some sort of perverse pleasure in their status as underdogs in Sunday’s game, an unaccustomed role.

“We’re loose,” Switzer said in Irving. “Everybody’s written us off. Maybe we should cancel the flight, stay home and watch the AFC game. … Everybody says the 49ers are better, but they’ve got to prove it.”

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