49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 21, 2009
Cornerbacks Kelly, Bly in for physicals today

The 49ers currently are entertaining two veteran cornerbacks, Dre' Bly and Brian Kelly, as possible roster replacements for Walt Harris (ACL). Both are in Santa Clara today for physicals. Kelly, 33, is an 11-year veteran who played 10 seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and last year for the Lions. He's started only 16 games in the last three seasons. Bly, 31, is a 10-year veteran who's played for the Rams, Lions and Broncos.

The team has some interest in former Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister but McAlister likely would have a hard time passing a physical at this time. McAlister started five games last season before being benched by coach John Harbaugh and later was placed on injured reserve with a right knee injury. He is expected to be fully recovered from that injury by June 15.

While the 49ers were hosting free agent cornerbacks, coach Mike Singletary was dishing out praise to the young cornerbacks on the team. "Tarell Brown has really been working his tail off," Singletary said. "I'm sure Shawntae will come back, and he will be fine. I know he's working his tail off." Singletary said Shawntae Spencer (knee) would be back on the field before training camp begins in late July. He also said there were no plans to move Reggie Smith back to cornerback from safety. Smith has been the de facto starter at strong safety while Michael Lewis rehabilitates from injuries.

"He can do both, but right now he's at safety, and he's making strides there and doing a good job," Singletary said. "Like I said, we're just going to try and find a guy to come in and compete and make us better at the corner position and we'll go from there."

While there are a number of veteran cornerbacks available, Singletary said "there are lot of veterans out there that I'm not really excited about." Asked to clarify, Singletary said: "I'm not going to go into names, but there are a guys out there that I'm not excited about, that I don't think fit what we're trying to do. ... We want a guy that has talent and is willing to come in and work."

Linebacker Jeff Ulbrich was back at practice today, but tight end Vernon Davis, linebacker Ahmad Brooks and guard Chilo Rachal were not. Davis said later that he wasn't feeling well. Don't know the reason for the Brooks and Rachal absences, but will pass them along when I do. ... Ray McDonald and Arnaz Battle did some light running with trainers as practice began. ... The only player ruled out for training camp is Walt Harris.

Prettiest pass of the day? I promise I'm not being facetious when I say that it was delivered by Josh Morgan. The wideout had an option to pass, saw that Brandon Jones was uncovered and uncorked a 20-yard, tight spiral to Jones in the end zone.

The 49ers ended their four days of OTAs with some goal-line work. Except the offense wasn't operating on the opposition's 1-yard line but their own one yard line. Back-up right guard Matthew Huners drew the ire of Singletary by false starting.

Singletary was asked about second chances, particularly in relation to ex-Leavenworth, Kansas prison inmate Michael Vick. Singletary said that "obviously" he is someone who believes in second chances. But he also said that he and GM Scot McCloughan have not discussed Vick at all in recent months. "I've thought very little about about Michael Vick," Singletary said. ... "I've been thinking about what we're doing here." Singletary said the 49ers have "enough on our plate right now" when it comes to quarterbacks.

I'll have some final thoughts about the OTA -- who looked good, potential trouble spots -- in a later post ...

-- Matt 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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