SANTA CLARA — Eric Wright raised his arms to the sky, his right hand clutching the ball, then danced off the field collecting hugs and hand slaps from his San Francisco teammates.
The veteran cornerback finally was back in his playmaking element.
Wright and the 49ers had reason to celebrate after his interception in the final minute last week sealed San Francisco's 19-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which Wright was knocked out with a head injury in the third quarter but was back on the field to make a play when it counted at the end.
On Sunday, the 49ers visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team Wright played for last year during a tumultuous season in which he was suspended for four games.
It was a long way down for Wright since then before he got back on the field with the 49ers in November.
“I was able to change the perspective a little bit to get the most out of the situation,” Wright said, “and I was able to do that and really take that situation in stride and become not only a better football player, but a better person.”
Wright has stepped up for the 49ers when they needed him. His return from an eight-week stay to start the season on the reserve/non-football injury list came just a few weeks before San Francisco lost starting right cornerback Tarell Brown to a rib injury that has sidelined Brown for the past three games.
Wright has moved into the regular nickel back role for a defense that has extra defensive backs on the field more often than not. He had a team-high two passes-defensed against the Seahawks, playing a key role in a defense that limited Seattle and quarterback Russell Wilson to 178 net yards passing.