49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 16, 2010
Niners strike deal with RB Westbrook

The 49ers have struck a one-year deal with free-agent running back Brian Westbrook. Westbrook, 30, was released by the Eagles in March after an eight-year career. Westbrook's last two years have been marred by an array of injuries, including two concussions in 2009. The 49ers, meanwhile, began searching for a veteran running back on Friday after running back Glen Coffee unexpectedly told the team he was retiring. The paperwork for Coffee's retirement was filed this morning, meaning Coffee is officially no longer with the team and there is an open roster spot. According to a source, the deal calls for $1.25 million guaranteed and another $1.25 million in incentives.

The 49ers' interest in Westbrook, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, comes a day after rookie running back Anthony Dixon's impressive debut in Indianapolis. Dixon rushed for 100 yards on 21 carries, including a five-yard touchdown run. His outing seemed to assuage fears that he could step into Coffee's role as the No. 2 runner behind Frank Gore. After the game, however, Mike Singletary gave Dixon a measured review. "He did OK,'' Singletary said, according to The Mercury News. "We tried to make sure we didn't overload him with anything. We kept it pretty simple. He's going to have to continue to grow and expand."

Westbrook has rushed for nearly 6,000 yards and has scored 71 touchdowns. However, he's started only 11 games in the last two seasons. It is not yet known what Westbrook's role will be in the 49ers offense. Singletary is scheduled to have a conference call with the local media later this afternoon.

Addendum: The 49ers were late to the Brian Westbrook party, but they aggressively outmaneuvered other teams, including the Rams. ... I still think that heretofore third-down running back Michael Robinson is safe because of his special teams ability, but you do have to have some doubts after his first-carry fumble Sunday.

-- 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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