San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson plays the game with a physicality that endears him to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
"He's got a real toughness about him," Harbaugh said. "He's built up a real callus when it comes to physical-contact courage. the going from point A to point B, and go hit somebody. ...
"So far this year we've seen some of the best front-up tackles that you're going to see. It's an all-out style that he plays. Played the deep ball very well. Gets his hands on ball, tracks the deep ball, does everything that you'd want a safety to do."
The 49ers (5-2) might need Goldson's emotion Monday night in a physical matchup with the Arizona Cardinals (4-3).
Goldson was nearly thrown out of the win over the Seahawks last Thursday after he belted Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch with a hard hit. He then stood over Lynch and taunted him, which drew a personal-foul penalty.
Nevertheless, Goldson earned a game ball from Harbaugh for his efforts, which included preventing the deep pass, covering on punts, supporting against the run and making his second interception of the season.
Goldson now has eight picks since the start of last season, which is tied for second most in the league over that span. San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle has nine.
Coincidentally, Goldson is seeking a Weddle-type contract. The Chargers gave Weddle $40 million over five years, with nearly half of that money guaranteed.
Currently, Goldson is playing under the franchise tag, which gives him a $6.2 million salary this year.
The matchup against Arizona will provoke both good and bad memories for Goldson.
He had his breakout game against the Cardinals in 2009, his first year as a starter. Goldson forced two fumbles and intercepted a Kurt Warner pass as the 49ers beat the Cardinals 24-9 on a Monday night at Candlestick Park.
Last year, two of Goldson's six interceptions came against the Cardinals. On the negative side, he also gave up a 46-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald that fueled the Cardinals' comeback from a 19-7 deficit to an eventual 21-19 win on Dec. 11 in Arizona.
Goldson also was tossed from that game for throwing a punch.