Just spoke with both Mike Nolan and Ahmad Brooks after practice ... Brooks said he had a strong inkling that he might wind up with the 49ers especially after his agent told him that the 49ers tried to trade for him last week. Brooks said he didn't know the terms of the proposed trade.
As reported earlier, the 263-pound Brooks is starting out at the "Mike" linebacker spot behind Patrick Willis. The position is similar to the one he played his rookie season in Cincinnati. Brooks said he didn't like the move to strong-side linebacker his second year with the Bengals and is more comfortable where he is now. Brooks also played in a 3-4 defense at Virginia. Brooks is still recovering from the groin injury that cost him all but two games of the 2007. He said he is close to 100 percent but not quite there yet.
Both Nolan and Brooks minimized the recent legal scrape Brooks found himself in this past offseason. Brooks was charged with misdemeanor assault after allegedly punching a woman in the face in Northern Kentucky. Said Nolan: "I don't really know the details of it but I know enough of it to know that we're willing to take this opportunity and see what he can do." Nolan said he feels the team has "the structure and manpower and the people in place" to take on players who have had character issues in the past. He noted that the team's staff included a psychologist, Rev. Earl Smith, Dr. Harry Edwards and others who are there to assist players. Cornerback Tarell Brown and running back Thomas Clayton, for example, are players who arrived out of college with character concerns but who have had nary an issue while with the 49ers. Antonio Bryant, on the other hand, was not able to get past his issues and was dismissed by Nolan after a little less than a year in San Francisco.
Brooks, meanwhile, said his recent run-in probably had something to do with his release from the Bengals. "But it really didn't because I didn't do anything wrong," he said. "I made a dumb decision, I guess." Brooks also had problems while in Virginia and was dismissed from the team by Al Groh following his junior season. Nolan spoke to Brooks about his college transgressions when Brooks visited in 2006. He revisited the subject when Brooks arrived yesterday. "He said obviously it was a case of immaturity at that time in college," Nolan said.
A year ago, Nolan had players from every position group elect a captain, a group that Nolan dubbed the team's "shop captains." Today, Nolan essentially said that experiment was a dud and has decided to go with a more traditional group of four who will have the "C" for captain on their jerseys. They are:
Offense: Eric Heitmann
Defense: Patrick Willis
Special teams: Michael Robinson
Player representative: Walt Harris
Nolan said that Adam Snyder and David Baas are competing to start at left guard for Sunday's opener against Arizona. He said the split end also is undecided although Mike Martz last week seemed to indicate that the job would go to veteran Bryant Johnson instead of rookie Josh Morgan. Nolan also said that Morgan, Arnaz Battle and Jason Hill will contribute on special teams.
Back by popular demand this year is Scot McCloughan's "Guys to Watch" list for the upcoming college season. Follow this list and you'll gain at least a smidgen of credibility when you are making outrageous claims -- "Horrible pick!" or "Awesome pick!" -- on draft day. We'll begin with tonight's UCLA-Tennessee game ... Keep in mind, these are limited to seniors.
For the Vols:
#47 Britton Colquitt Punter *Comment: How many punters can one couple produce?
#27 Arian Foster RB
#78 Ramon Foster Tackle
#75 Anthony Parker Guard
#24 DeAngelo Willingham CB
For the Bruins:
#36 Kahlil Bell RB
#17 Aaron Perez Punter
-- Matt Barrows