It's now official for five of the six free agents the 49ers netted over the weekend. DeShaun Foster, Dontarrious Thomas and J.T. O'Sullivan have officially signed their deals, joining Justin Smith and Allen Rossum, who signed earlier in the week. Only Isaac Bruce has yet to put his John Hancock on a contract. We are scheduled to have a conference call with Foster at 2 p.m., so stay tuned for what he has to say ...
Just got off the conference call with what can only be described as a subdued DeShaun Foster. In fact, SF Chronicle's John Crumpacker asked Foster midway through if he was even excited to be with the 49ers. That seemed to perk the running back up a little bit. "Oh no," he said with a laugh. "I'm kind of quiet." Foster will be a backup to running back Frank Gore, of course, and he said he didn't mind that arrangement. He'd love to be a starter somewhere, but he realizes that most teams have their starting situation already squared away. Besides, he said, NFL teams need to have two running backs these days.
Foster said he was good at catching the ball out of the backfield -- a requirement in a Mike Martz offense -- and that he did more of that early in his Carolina career than in recent years. Asked about how he and Gore will be used by Martz, Foster said, "I think it's going to be a balanced offense. It's not going to be pass happy." He also was asked about injuries. Foster struggled early in his career to stay healthy but has mostly been injury-free in recent seasons. Foster said that was partly due to luck and partly because he is bigger now than he used to be. In fact, Foster is listed at 222 pounds, which makes him just a shade slimmer than Michael Robinson.
Here's the full transcipt:
RE: Was it a priority of yours to get back to California?
“I am not going to say it was a priority, but it was just something that I was looking out for.”
RE: What have they told you about what your role would be with the 49ers?
“Just basically to get in there and spot Frank (Gore). He is a good back and I am just going to try and contribute.”
RE: Do you know Frank at all?
“No, I don’t know him personally.”
RE: Was there any reluctance in coming to a team where Frank is such a big part of the offense and doesn’t come off the field too often?
“It was, but you know I see this team as an up and coming team. I feel that you need two backs in this league and whatever role I play, that’s what I am going to do.”
RE: What do you know about the Mike Martz offense? Does this offense excite you?
“Yes. He has had some explosive offenses. They have a lot of young talent on the team with veteran receivers. I think that the sky is the limit with this offense.”
RE: Were there other teams that were interested in you?
RE: Can you name them?
“No, that’s okay.”
RE: You seem to sound reserved. You don’t sound excited…
“Oh no, I am kind of quiet. That’s just me. (laughing in background).”
RE: Were you still thinking about being a starter when you looked at teams?
“Yes I was.”
RE: What did you think happened? Did you think that team’s had that position filled?
“Yes. A lot of teams have two backs. So basically I wanted to help a team contribute immediately.”
RE: What do you know about the 49ers offense in the last couple of years?
“I know they ran the ball. That was a key for me.”
RE: Do you think that will continue under Mike Martz?
“Yes. I think it will be a balanced offense. I don’t think it will be pass happy or anything like that. You have a good running back, so you are going to have to find a way to get the ball in his hands.”
RE: Have you gotten a chance to talk to Martz at all?
“Just in passing. Not really into game planning or schemes or anything like that.”
RE: When you first came into the league you had injury issues, now you seem pretty healthy. Has there been any difference in the last couple of years?
“I just kind of put on a little more weight to make it through the season really.”
RE: Do you take pride in your pass catching ability and do you see that as an area where you can fit in well in this offense?
“Yes, I think I can help with that also. I just try to be a versatile back. I think they are going to try and give the backs the ball and I am just excited.”
RE: Did you do a lot of that at Carolina, catching balls out of the backfield?
“Yes, I did that earlier in my career.”
RE: Was leaving Carolina expected? What were your emotions when that happened?
“I was down there for six years. They drafted me and it was a great organization. It was kind of disappointing, but it is the nature of the game. I am excited to get a fresh start in San Fran and I am just going to go from there.”
RE: Were you a 49ers fan growing up?
“Yes, I was a 49ers fan, but I was a Rams fan because they were closer. I was a 49ers fan, you have to go with whoever was winning.”
-- Matt Barrows