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

October 1, 2010
Lewis missing from practice; Sunday status unknown

As if the 49ers could use more weirdness in an already terribly bizarre season, starting safety Michael Lewis did not show up at practice today. Mike Singletary used the catch-all "personal reasons" to account for Lewis' absence, but his disappearance follows on the heels of reports from Monday that both he and starting linebacker Takeo Spikes would be benched. On Wednesday, Singletary said there would be no changes to the starting lineup on either offense or defense. Additionally, a family member today said it wasn't a family emergency that prompted Lewis' absence.

"He's not here for personal reasons," Mike Singletary said. "I told him to go ahead and do what he has to do. As far as if he'll make the trip or not, I'm not sure at this point. It depends on if things get worked out or not. But once again, it's personal reasons. And it's on Mike. I don't talk about that. You'll have to talk about him about that."

If Lewis does not play Sunday, Reggie Smith would start at safety and Taylor Mays would see action in the team's nickel packages. Mays got the bulk of the work in today's practice because the 49ers want to make sure he's ready for the Falcons.

Lewis suffered an ankle injury Sunday in Kansas City but returned to the game. He practiced this week on a limited basis, lining up with the first-team defense on Sunday but giving way to Smith and Mays at various points. When asked about Lewis' absence, 49ers players referred the questioner to Singletary.

In July, Singletary said the 49ers needed to improve the speed in their secondary and noted that Lewis and fellow 2009 safety Mark Roman got beat up over the course of the season and that the 49ers were not as fast as they wanted to be on the back end. Lewis also agreed to a pay reduction earlier this year that eliminated the final two years of his deal.

Phone calls to Lewis' agent have not been returned.

Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith was fined $10,000 for inappropriately grabbing 49ers offensive tackle Anthony Davis at the end of a running play. Davis, who retaliated with a punch to Smith's ribs and was penalized on the play, did not get fined.

-- 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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