Joe Staley says he's endured two-a-day padded practices since he was five years old. They are as much a part of football as goal-line stands and shoulder pads. But that isn't to say that Staley and his teammates necessarily will pine for the good old days if, as reported by ESPN, two a days are eliminated in the new collective bargaining agreement.
"As a player, two-a-days are really hard," Staley, the unofficial captain of the offensive line, said on Tuesday. "Part of you wants to not have those full-padded, full-contact two-a-days. Some part of you also wants to have them because you get a lot of work in. They are beneficial."
The 49ers leaders have said all offseason that the lockout has put them at a disadvantage because they have a new coaching staff and new playbooks and have not had a chance to practice as a group. They say their team will have to work extra hard once the lockout ends and training camp finally begins.
As a quarterback, Alex Smith said he generally favors practicing as much as possible. But he also said he felt the 49ers could get in the necessary work without two-a-day padded practices. While padded, full-contact practices might be curtailed, teams still will be able to have walk-throughs and non-padded practices in addition to the padded sessions. The 49ers, for example, might begin a typical training-camp session with classroom work and a walk-through, and then hold their contact session in the afternoon.
"Obviously we have to find a balance there," Smith said. "We've got to get in pads and we have to have that work. But do we need a bunch of two-a-days to do it? I don't know."
Smith said the most important thing from his standpoint was starting training camp on time. The 49ers are scheduled to begin training camp July 28 in Santa Clara.
"I think it's a huge deal," Smith said. "In my head, if we can get a full training camp I thought that would be a big help. Knowing that it was looking like we weren't going to get OTAs and minicamps. I was really helpful that if we could get a full training camp then that was the best scenario."
The 49ers on hand Tuesday at San Jose State included Smith, Staley, receivers Kevin Jurovich and Kyle Williams, offensive linemen Adam Snyder and Mike Iupati, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, fullback Bruce Miller, defensive ends Justin Smith and Ray McDonald and linebacker Aldon Smith.
Former 49ers center Forrest Blue, who played for the team from 1968-74, passed away over the weekend, according to his family. He was 65. Like former 49ers Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson, who passed away earlier this year, Blue requested that his brain be sent to Boston University where researchers are studying the link between repetitive brain trauma and dementia-like disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
-- Matt Barrows