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

June 28, 2011
His left foot: Crabtree attends, doesn't take part in practice

There were two headlines from Day 1 of Camp Alex II: The first is that receiver Michael Crabtree was on hand for the session but did not go through a full practice because of lingering concerns about his left foot. The second is that rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick was a full participant in the practice and, for the first time in a team session, showed off the arm strength for which he was noted prior to the draft.


To get you up to speed on the Crabtree story - the receiver attended the 49ers' previous minicamp but only took part in the June 6 practice. According to teammate Josh Morgan, Crabtree suffered sore feet during that Monday session after practicing in new shoes. He attended the morning classroom sessions Tuesday-Thursday but left when they were over and did not go out to the practice field.

Today he arrived midway through the classroom session and then joined his teammates on the field. At first it appeared as if Crabtree would only watch from the sideline. But during warmups, he briefly left to get a new pair of shoes and then jumped in with teammates for some light warm-up work on the field. When the practice started, he hung close to the quarterbacks, charting plays.

According to a teammate, the problem is Crabtree's left foot, which required surgery to correct a stress fracture prior to the 2009 draft. Crabtree is being cautious with the foot and doesn't want it to grow into a more serious problem. Crabtree did not speak with reporters today.

Kaepernick, meanwhile, is nearly recovered from a surgical procedure he had in early May. He mostly was an observer during the minicamp earlier this month but let it fly today. One of his passes - an intermediate out route - literally swept wide receiver Lance Long off his feet.

"Definitely have to get back a little of the timing, get back to the pace of the routes, the timing of certain things," Kaepernick said. "I mean, that's just going to take a little bit of time. But for the most part, I felt like I was on time with most of my throws today and felt good out there."

His teammates agreed. Said left tackle Joe Staley: "We're excited about him. ... He doesn't have that rookie, deer-in-the-headlights mentality. I think he's going to be a good quarterback."

Odds & Ends

* Like the earlier session, this one was closed to the media once the actual practice began. Friday's session may be open. Alex Smith, who is running the camp, also will address the media on Friday.

* The numbers were similar the earlier camp. There were 20 offensive players on hand while three defensive players worked out on their own. New additions included OT Alex Boone - he was honeymooning in Jamaica earlier this month -- TE Colin Cloherty and WR Long. Rookies RB Kendall Hunter and OG Daniel Kilgore were on hand for the earlier session but were not there today. They are attending the rookie symposium in Bradenton, Fla. along with fellow rookies Bruce Miller and Curtis Holcomb.

* The only 2010 offensive starters who did not attend were C David Baas, RT Anthony Davis, RB Frank Gore and RG Chilo Rachal. The defensive players on hand today were Justin Smith, Parys Haralson and Ray McDonald.

* The offensive line looked like this: LT Joe Staley, LG Mike Iupati, C Adam Snyder, RG Mike Person (rookie) and RT Boone. Boone has been working out in Cleveland. He might be in even better shape than he was a year ago when he arrived for OTAs at a transformed 310 pounds. He said he was concentrating on lower-body strength and quickness this offseason. Boone also has gotten married and has a baby boy on the way.

* Smith's classroom work includes film cups of an array of West Coast offenses, including college (Stanford) and pro clubs. The NFL clips include Steve Young and the 49ers, Rich Gannon and the Raiders and recent Philadelphia Eagles footage. Players said it was helpful to get a bird's eye view of the plays they are running on the practice field.

-- 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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