49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 26, 2007
Lelie on the bubble

Question: Hello Matt! Just read your article about the receivers, particularly the difficult time Maxwell will have making the 53-man roster. However, I don't think you touched on the obviously growing disappointment in Lelie in that article. I've followed your other blogs where you've stated that Nolan was pretty "peeved" that Lelie didn't practice and I've heard Hostler state in other articles you've written that he's openly "concerned" about Lelie. Given the obvious issues with Lelie, do you still think Maxwell will have such a hard (almost impossible time) making the 53-man roster?

Sid, San Antonio

Answer: Hey, Sid. You raise a good point. Nolan and Hostler definitely were peeved that Lelie essentially watched spring practices from the sideline instead of establishing some sort of connection with Alex Smith. But I think it's also obvious that they want him on the team. There was a reason they were so frank when asked about Lelie. I believe it was a calculated attempt to have Lelie, who's not exactly the most intense guy, show up on July 28 champing at the bit with plenty to prove. A guy like Lelie is essential for the 49ers' down field offense. Though there are guys who could possibly fill that role - Bryan Gilmore, Jason Hill, Marcus Maxwell - each of them could use a little more seasoning. I'm looking for Lelie to finally make an impact in training camp. If he continues to malinger, you're right, his time in a 49ers uniform will be short-lived.

-- Matt Barrows

Question: Matt, your Niner writings are very concise and informative. Keep up the solid work. BTW, now that I know that Darrell Green is your favorite player, I also know that you know your football. Sometimes Niner fans can have blinders on, but Green was as good as it gets during his Redskins career.

Owen, Walnut Creek

Answer: Thanks. I definitely think Darrell is one of the all-time greats at cornerback, but two other things launch him into favorite-player status. First, he runs a very successful charity/foundation in the D.C. area. And two, he's one of the nicest guys on the planet. I know this because when I was a boy, he and his wife moved into the house across the street. Darrell used to play pick-up football and basketball with the neighborhood boys. He was the antithesis of the stereotypical selfish athlete.

-- Matt Barrows

Question: Hi Matthew, I have two questions for you. How did Jason Hill do in the OTAs? I haven't heard a lot about him lately. And how many DBs do you think the Niners will take to the season?

Gabriel, Rio de Janiero

Answer: Hi Gabriel - I wish I knew how to say "hello" in Portugese. I addressed Hill in another answer. As far as defensive backs, I see the 49ers keeping four cornerbacks and four safeties. That means Marcus Hudson and Tarell Brown would duke it out for one of the cornerback spots while Dashon Goldson and Vickiel Vaughn would fight for the last safety spot. Should be the most interesting training camp in recent memory.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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