Mayo: 49ers 'great opportunity for me'
David Mayo made his mark as an important special-teams performer and reserve linebacker in his four seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
Now the former Scappoose High standout is preparing to start a new NFL adventure.
The 6-3, 240-pound Mayo has signed a two-year free-agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
"It's a great opportunity for me," Mayo said while in Scappoose for the wedding of his brother, Jordan. "We'll be coming back to the West Coast, which my family is super excited about. I'm going to miss all my relationships and teammates in Carolina, but I'm excited. It's going to be great."
Mayo, 25, was a fifth-round draft pick in 2015 out of Texas State. He played in Super Bowl 50 as a rookie with Carolina and started four games at outside linebacker last season due to the drug suspension of regular starter Thomas Davis.
Mayo said the Panthers made an attempt to re-sign him, "but their offer wasn't as good as San Francisco's."
"It happened pretty quickly," Mayo said. "It was getting down to crunch time. (The 49ers) put up the best offer. We took it."
Mayo said he had agreed in principle to a deal before flying to San Francisco to sign the contract.
"When I flew out to sign the paperwork, they all treated me extremely well — the coaches, the front-office people," Mayo said. "Coach (Kyle) Shanahan is a younger guy with a lot of good energy. He welcomed me with open arms. I'm excited to play for him."
Mayo admits to mixed emotions about leaving the Panthers.
"Yeah, it's bittersweet," he said. "I'm excited to join a new team and live in the Bay Area, but we built a family and a life there for Carolina. We've been there for four years. We have a lot of friends on the team and outside the team.
"I'm sad to leave them, but it's part of it. A lot of my teammates called me and congratulated me and wish us nothing but the best."
The 49ers, 4-12 last season, employ a 4-3 defense, as did the Panthers. Mayo isn't sure what his role will be.
"That's all going to get figured out as we go through (organized team activities) and leading up to training camp," he said. "I'll just fit in where they need me. I know I'll play some special teams as well as fight for a spot at linebacker. That's my role as of now. I just want to try to help this team win.
"Wherever the team needs me, that's where I'll be, and happily."
Mayo underwent surgery for a sports hernia after last season.
"It was bothering me through the year, and I decided to pull the trigger and get it done," he said. "It's healing up nicely."
Mayo and his wife, Jordan, have an 8-month-old boy, Elijah.
"He's getting big," Mayo said. "He's crawling, and growing like crazy. He wants to move around. New things are happening every day. It's been fun."