49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 3, 2011
The players have spoken: Willis, Gore are team captains

Frank Gore and Patrick Willis will serve as team captains for the 49ers this year, coach Jim Harbaugh announced on a conference call. In two previous seasons, Mike Singletary picked six captains, and last year appointed starting quarterback Alex Smith one of them.

This year, Harbaugh put it to a player vote, and the winners were Willis, who has made the Pro Bowl in each of his previous three seasons, and Gore, who signed a three-year contract extension earlier this week. That Gore was voted to the offensive captaincy speaks to his popularity in the locker room and to the importance of the 49ers taking care of him with a contract extension. It also is notable after Smith organized and ran all of the player practices during the lockout.

In other news, Harbaugh said he anticipated that a third quarterback would be added in coming days but that that quarterback could be a practice-squad player. He said he was confident in rookie Colin Kaepernick if the team does in fact head into the regular season with just two quarterbacks. "Like any team that only carries two quarterbacks at this time, you're rolling the dice somewhat," he said. "We understand that."

Harbaugh also said that Kendall Hunter was indeed ahead of Anthony Dixon on the running-back depth chart but that the competition was an ongoing process. The team has just two quarterbacks and two tight ends. Fullback Bruce Miller, however, does a lot of the same things a third tight end would do, thus minimizing somewhat the 49ers' need to bring in a third tight end. "He's definitely going to be a swing guy in that regard for us, fullback (and) tight end," Harbaugh said. Miller also is valuable on special teams

Harbaugh said that he got input from all of his assistants but that he and general manager Trent Baalke made the final decisions. The 49ers had bonus workouts today and will have another Tuesday before slipping into their normal regular-season practice patterns.

-- 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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