Receiver Bryant Johnson missed his second straight practice with a hamstring strain, the same hamstring that kept out of most of the preseason. Still, Mike Nolan said today that he was hopeful Johnson would play Sunday in New Orleans. He said Johnson, Michael Lewis (elbow), Keith Lewis (knee), Donald Strickland (knee) and Dashon Goldson all would be game-time decisions.
I asked Nolan whether rookie Josh Morgan had recovered from his staph infection to start should Johnson not be able to play. The broadcasters in Sunday's game had said that Morgan lost 15 pounds and Maiocco yesterday interviewed Morgan who revealed that the mystery "illness" - the team never said what it was -- was indeed a staph infection. Why the team had been dancing around the issue for the last month, I have no clue, but the cat seemed to be well out of the bag by this afternoon.
Yet Nolan still played dumb:
"That was written and I don't even know it's been accurate to be honest with you. That's all speculation with this and that. That's hearsay information. It didn't come from Fergie (trainer Jeff Ferguson) did it?"
Told that the information came from Morgan himself, Nolan said, "Did it?"
As far as the game is concerned, Nolan said he was certain he'd have at least four healthy receivers - Morgan, Isaac Bruce, Arnaz Battle and Jason Hill. If they need a fifth, they'll tap Allen Rossum for that role.
This will only be the second time that safety Mark Roman has played a game in his native Louisiana. And he admitted today that he's arranged to have "quite a few" friends and family make the trip from New Iberia, La., which is about 90 miles west of New Orleans. How much is quite a few? "A hundred and fifty," Roman said. "The last time (in 2006) I had to get a bus." He said that former LSU teammate and current Saints cornerback Randall Gay was helping him find the requisite number of tickets.
The question is who his contingent will be rooting for. Roman smiled and explained that until the NBA's Hornets arrived in 2002, the Saints were the only game in town and are beloved throughout the state. "They'll go back and forth," he said of his family's allegiance. "They'll be rooting for the 49ers."
Great news for anyone who's got tickets to next week's game against New England: The 49ers will officially retire Steve Young's No. 8 at halftime. Young will be the 11th player to have his jersey retired.
"Steve Young is an important part of the 49ers history and tradition," owner John York said in a statement. "He combined talent, character and a tremendous work ethic to become an incomparable performer and champion on the field. He was a model professional, and he influenced many of the younger players with his dedication. Our players today and for years to come will look up to Steve. We are excited to pay tribute to his achievements with this special halftime ceremony in front of our fans."
Here are the other players who have had their jerseys retired:
#12 John Brodie 1973
#16 Joe Montana 2000
#34 Joe Perry 1971
#37 Jimmy Johnson 1994
#39 Hugh McElhenny 1971
#42 Ronnie Lott 2003
#70 Charlie Krueger 1974
#73 Leo Nomellini 1971
#79 Bob St. Clair 2001
#87 Dwight Clark 1988
-- Matt Barrows