When I say you need a medical degree to cover the NFL, I’m not just talking about an expertise in knees, ankles and Achilles’ heals. The heart has been a big topic in recent weeks. Draft prospect Heath Benedict died suddenly last month because, according to his agent, of an enlarged heart. Benedict was one of the players Mike Nolan and his staff coached at the Senior Bowl. Then last week we learned that Quentin Groves, a player the 49ers might take with the 29th pick, had a procedure to remove an extra circuit in his heart last month.
Today I got a press release that 49ers’ safety Michael Lewis will participate in the National Start! Walking Day event Wednesday in downtown San Jose. Why? The event promotes walking, a healthier lifestyle and the prevention of heart disease. I must have been living under a rock not to know this, but while in college Lewis was diagnosed with the heart condition called atrial fibrillation. When he was with the Eagles, Lewis became a spokesperson for the Philadelphia chapter of the American Heart Association and on Wednesday Lewis will talk about his condition and the importance of regular exercise. Obviously, Lewis’ heart condition is treatable. And it has not slowed him athletically as anyone who saw him run down Sean Morey on Nov. 25 can attest.
The NFL schedule will be released tomorrow starting at 11 a.m. I get the feeling that NFL Network is going to make it into an entire show, a la the NCAA tournament announcement. Of course, we already know whom the 49ers will play. In addition to their division foes, they’ll face the AFC East (New England and New York at home; Miami and Buffalo on the road). They’ll also travel to Dallas, New Orleans and the New York Giants and host the Eagles, Redskins and Lions. The information I’m most interested in? Will I be in Buffalo in early September or late December? Please, Roger Goodell, let it be the former.
The 49ers announced they have released receiver C.J. Brewer, an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming in 2006. Brewer was a practice-squad standout who made quite a few acrobatic catches before suffering a knee injury last season.
There’s someone else leaving the 49ers. Publicity manager Kat Madariaga’s final day with the team will be Friday. I’ve worn black every day since hearing the news.
-- Matt Barrows