Harbaugh sets tone on tone-setter Goldson

San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson deserves a long-term contract after playing the 2012 season under the franchise tag.

Coach Jim Harbaugh indicated as much during his news conference Tuesday.

Dashon Goldson Stats

"He's somebody that I think that you reward," Harbaugh said. "Plays every game. Can find the ball. You know that he’s out there. And opposing offenses know that he’s out there. He tackles and does everything that you’d want a safety to do. Yeah, I feel like you reward those types of people. Who do you reward if you don’t reward those type of people?"

Goldson, 28, plays the enforcer role well. Two plays during Super Bowl XVII stood out.

On one, Goldson arrived to the pile late and delivered a shot to running back Ray Rice's head area. Rice was clearly upset after the play. He yelled across the line of scrimmage toward Goldson while returning to the huddle. One play later, Rice lost a fumble.

Goldson also brought down Ravens running back Bernard Pierce with a violent tackle along the sideline. Pierce had gained eight yards on the play, his longest run of the day. But he was slow to get up from the hit. Pierce, who had carried nine times for 30 yards to that point in the game, gained three yards on three additional rushes.

The hits from Goldson might not have affected the production for Rice and Pierce, but they represent the tone-setting qualities a physical safety can bring to a defense.

Rewarding Goldson is a priority.

"Yes, that's very fair to say," Harbaugh said.