Did the 49ers try to snag linebacker Lance Briggs before the Oct. 16 trade deadline? No comment, the 49ers said today. “That player’s on another football team, guys,” Mike Nolan said. “I don’t comment on players on other teams.” You can understand why he would be mum on the topic. First, you’re not supposed to covet players who are under contract with another team. It’s called tampering. Second, you wouldn’t want to alienate your own players – Derek Smith, Jeff Ulbrich and Brandon Moore – who play the same position as Briggs. And lastly, you don’t want to tip your hand as far as free agency when Briggs almost certainly will hit the market.
The questions were prompted by a Yahoo! Sports story that said a would-be deal between the 49ers and Bears was scuttled by the league because Chicago had designated Briggs their franchise player and franchise players can’t sign long-term deals during the season.
Nolan wouldn’t comment on Briggs specifically but he did say the trade rules need to be changed “I would like to see us have a greater window of opportunity than the current window of opportunity,” he said. “I would like to see it go into November, yeah…”
Safety Mark Roman twisted an ankle in practice and is listed as questionable. If he can’t play, Keith Lewis and Dashon Goldson would fill in. Cornerback Shawntae Spencer is doubtful with a quad strain. Arnaz Battle is questionable with a sprained ankle.
No fresh news on Alex Smith who continued to throw lightly at the beginning of practice. Yesterday Smith told us that he would have an examination by the team’s medical staff and a phone consult with Dr. James Andrews. Smith was not available to comment today and it was not clear whether he had had another examination.
-- Matt Barrows