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March 20, 2009
Singletary wants Bruce decision by April 1

A steady stream of players were in front of the microphones/tape recorders as 49ers minicamp kicked off. Before I head out to practice, here are the highlights of what was said:

Mike Singletary

Said there was no resolution yet with Isaac Bruce but that he'd like a decision from Bruce by April 1.

Said the top goal of the minicamp was to give new offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye a sense of the talent he has to work with on offense.

Said that Alex Smith would be full go in the minicamp. Smith later said that the only thing he was concerned about shoulder-wise was building endurance.

Shied away from any discussion about Jay Cutler. "He's a player under contract and I'm gonna stay away from that." The scuttlebutt out of Denver is that 10 teams have inquired about Cutler.

Explained the team's dalliance with Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner like this: "My job as the head coach of the football team is to do the things that give us the best chance to win."

Confirmed that defensive end Ray McDonald indeed had knee surgery after the season. Singletary said that the knee was the same one that was cited as a potential problem when McDonald was drafted. How that surgery will affect McDonald in the minicamp has yet to be determined.

Said there is still no resolation on free-agent tackle Marvel Smith. The two sides are negotiating today.

Shaun Hill:

Said there were absolutely no hard feelings when the 49ers pursued Warner. Hill said he put himself in the place of the 49ers and figured it would be silly not to pursue a future Hall of Famer.

Said Raye stood up and gave an inspiring talk to the team this morning. There's been a concern that Raye's offense will be run-based and stodgy. But when he described the system, Hill called it, "fast, hitting on all cylinders, scoring touchdowns, moving the chains. ... You'll definitely see a definite rhythm with our offense."

Perhaps the most important quote of the day from anyone was this from Hill: "I feel more comfortable in Jimmy Raye's system than I did in Mike Martz's system."

WR Brandon Jones.

He's wearning No. 81 (cue the ominous music). Apparently no one has told him that T.O. put a curse on the number before he left San Francisco.

Said he'll get practice at both split end and flanker. As of now, he's practicing at flanker, which would have been Bruce's spot. Jones said he was ready to step into the no. 1 receiver role if need be.

Jones said he has played in the digit-system offense in the past. When exactly? In high school.

He said he was impressed with "both of the quarterbacks." Asked which he was referring to, he said Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, but then quickly noted that he was impressed with Damon Huard, too.

Alex Smith:

He said that the terminology of Raye's offense appeared to be similar to the system Norv Turner ran in 2006 but that it was too early to identify just how similar the two systems are.

Said he had "bulked up" to 221 pounds. Why is that important? "I just think for me at the position - you take a lot of hits. I just think that weight can help you absorb hits."

Smith said the Warner wooing had "no impact" on him reworking his contract with the 49ers. "I was actually on my honeymoon when that stuff happened."

He said there were no monetary targets he wanted his agent to reach in negotiating with the 49ers. "No, it was more just, 'Make it happen.'"

Demetric Evans:

Said he weighed about 280. He said he hasn't been told whether he'll play left or right defensive end. I expect he'll do a little of both at this minicamp.

Evans, whose wife is finishing up her medical residency in Washington, D.C., arrived here on Sunday and said he planned on attending the remainder of the offseason program, which extends through June.

Evans has never played in a 3-4 system. Last year in the Redskins' 4-3 scheme, he played defensive end on first and second downs, and then slid inside to defensive tackle on third down.

Manny Lawson:

The linebacker was noticeably bulkier. Lawson said he weighed 250 pounds after tipping the scales last year at anywhere from 235 to 240 pounds. Lawson wants must of that gain to be in his legs. "It will allow me to be more explosive, more powerful overall."

Asked about his role this season, Lawson said he's been told that "we're going to be playing a 3-4 defensive and both will get to go." By "both," Lawson said he meant him and fellow OLB Parys Haralson, and by "go" he meant rush the quarterback.

Lawson said the ACL tear he suffered early in 2007 didn't hinder him physically last season. But he admitted there was a mental block he had to overcome. That mental block, he said, began to go away at the end of the season.

Dashon Goldson:

Said he has not been told whether he'll have the radio receiver this year. In fact, Singletary said that Patrick Willis might get another shot at wearing it this season. Willis experimented with the so-called "green dot" last year but didn't like it.

Goldson said he was fighting through a PCL strain in the latter half of last year. Injuries, of course, are a major concern for the team's new starting free safety. He has struggled with an array of them dating back to his time at the University of Washington.

New numbers:
S Lewis Baker ... 43
DE Demetric Evans ... 95
QB Damon Huard ... 14
WR Brandon Jones ... 81
FB Moran Norris ... 44
LB Justin Roland ... 50
LB Mark Washington ... 57
S Jimmy Williams ... 41

Off to watch practice ....



MATTHEW 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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