***UPDATE*** Beeler's eventual addition to the 49ers roster becomes even more likely with the news that Eric Heitmann will miss part of the season, and possibly all of it, after having neck surgery recently. CSN Bay Area reported today that Heitmann, a 49ers starter since 2002, had the procedure to relieve the back and neck problems that forced him to miss the 2010 season.
The 49ers have an interesting addition today at their player-run minicamp. They're getting assistance from former Stanford center Chase Beeler, who obviously is familiar with Jim Harbaugh's and Greg Roman's offense.
Beeler said he bumped into left tackle Joe Staley recently and the two agreed that it would be mutually beneficial if Beeler took part in this week's practices. Beeler can help the 49ers, especially the offensive linemen, answer some of the questions they may have about the 49ers playbook. He also can line up at center where Adam Snyder, who has played both guard and tackle over his career but never center, has been filling in.
Beeler, meanwhile, was passed over in the draft and is one of many free agents waiting for the lockout to end so that he can join a team for training camp. Beeler said he fielded a few phone calls during the draft. The 49ers are an obvious fit given his familiarity with the coaching staff and the team's dearth of centers.
Beeler is listed at 6-3, 285 pounds. An Oklahoma native, he began his collegiate career at Oklahoma before transferring to Stanford in 2007. He was voted an AP first-team All-American for 2010. CBS Sportsline ranked him as the 15th best center in the 2010 draft.
CrabWatch: When he arrived this morning, Michael Crabtree insisted to a couple of reporters that his feet were fine and said he was a full participant in practice on Tuesday. Crabtree, however, warmed up today at half speed and then did not take part when the receivers began route-running drills as full speed, as was the case Tuesday. A teammate on Tuesday said Crabtree is being cautious about his left foot. Crabtree had surgery on the foot prior to the 2009 draft to address a stress fracture.
Deadliest Catch: Crabtree did share with reporters his new Twitter handle, @KingCrab15. Cast him a line.
-- Matt Barrows