49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 1, 2008
Javon Walker, Justin Smith and other FA items

Just got off the phone with Kennard McGuire, who represents Javon Walker. I asked McGuire if he thought the 49ers would ratchet up their interest in his client. McGuire said he and Walker haven’t decided which teams they will flirt with. “Javon’s just getting back from vacation,” he said. “We’re going to sit down pretty soon and talk.” There’s no doubting that Walker is a rare talent at receiver. He led the Broncos in receiving in 2006 with 69 receptions, 1,084 yards and eight receiving TDs. Teams, however, will be careful to check out the knee injury that forced Walker to miss most of the 2005 season. “It wasn’t an issue last year and it’s not an issue now,” McGuire said when I asked about Walker’s knee. Really? I was under the impression that Walker missed half the season after requiring surgery on his right knee.

Justin Smith weighed in at 282 pounds during his physical yesterday. The 49ers confirmed that he will play right defensive end and would slide inside to tackle on passing downs. With good-looking youngster Ray McDonald also at right end, this is more evidence that Marques Douglas will not be back.

My doppleganger Kevin Seifert and Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune report that Maurice Hicks will make the Vikings his first stop when he visits Monday. The Vikings are looking to make Hicks their kick returner.

It's official. Justin Smith is signed, sealed and delivered. Just got off a conference call. Here's a salient quote from Smith: "The only way to play football is to go 100 percent." Now we know why McCloughan and Nolan felt justified (Justinfied?) in spending $45 million on the guy. In fact, here's what Nolan had to say: “We are very excited to have Justin Smith join our football team. He is a player that we have watched in the NFL for quite a while. He will fit in on both on the football field and off the field. He is an extremely hard working player that works on his craft. He is kind of in the mold of a Bryant Young from a work ethic standpoint. Again, we are glad to have Justin be a part of the 49ers.”

Smith said he met two 49er players during his visit -- Jeff Ulbrich and Joe Nedney. That's no coincidence. In addition to being San Jose guys, they also are hard-working, down-to-earth favorites of Mike Nolan's. The 49ers braintrust likely wanted to match Smith with two guys in which he had the most in common. If Bryant Young were still on the team, I'm sure he'd have been a greeter as well ...

-- 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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