It's a slow Friday in Ninerland. Players worked out at the team facility this morning. Coaches, however, were taking a break at home. Everyone is gearing up for the first OTA practice that begins at 10 a.m. Monday. Until then, here are some tidbits to get you through the rest of the day ...
* Only a handful of players have not been fully participating in the offseason conditioning program. One of them, receiver Arnaz Battle, is a bit of a surprise. Battle always has been a coaches' pet so to speak - a hard worker who does everything that's asked of him. When I asked Mike Nolan about Battle's absence, he said that he'd like all the players to take part in the conditioning program. But he said that it was obvious from the minicamp earlier this month that Battle was keeping himself in shape. The same can be said of Jonas Jennings and Aubrayo Franklin, who hadn't been taking part in the program prior to the minicamp. It turns out they've been training with/against each other in the Atlanta area. Nolan said it looked like both were in very good shape.
* Still no word about - or from - Larry Allen. Last year, Allen didn't take part in the team's offseason program. But he showed up a few times and he spoke with Nolan over the phone. This year, there's been no communication at all with Nolan. Of course, Allen isn't under contract with the 49ers anymore. Still, if he planned to play one more season in San Francisco, you'd think he'd keep in touch.
* No word yet on whether there will be any excused absences as far as the OTAs are concerned. Sometimes Nolan will pardon a veteran player or two - Allen last year, for example - from the sessions. The OTAs are voluntary. Missing them, however, is usually a signal that a player is unhappy with the team. So far at least, there is no indication that anyone will be boycotting.
-- Matt Barrows