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

July 25, 2012
Early bird: Moss arrives for 49ers training camp ahead of schedule


The 49ers veteran players don't have to report for training camp until Thursday, but one prominent member was in town a day early. While media members were waiting to talk to some of the rookies who are practicing this week, Randy Moss strolled into the locker room with a black roller suitcase in one hand and a balance ball - for core exercises - in the other.

Jim Harbaugh has given Moss high marks so far, not only for his prowess on the field during spring drills but also for the example he's set for the team's younger wideouts who practically revere him. Moss has taken part in every practice since arriving April 30, and he has been a front-row participant in every team meeting. He's brought the other receivers -- notably Michael Crabtree -- to the head of the class with him.

The 49ers are counting on Moss to pump life into what was a ho hum passing attack last year. The hope is that Moss will stretch defenses like he did in the early part of his career, thereby creating more room underneath for receivers like Crabtree and running backs like Frank Gore.

Fourth-round pick Joe Looney said he doesn't know when he'll be permitted to join training camp practices, but he appears to be close. Looney, who suffered a foot injury in January, has been running for months. After Wednesday's practice, Looney spent time firing out of a three-point stance.

The likable Looney said he's been studying both guard positions, but that he'll probably concentrate on right guard when he is fully healthy. The current starter at right guard is Alex Boone, who is playing the position for the first time in his life.

"I've been getting in my playbook, making sure I'm on top of that mentally," Looney said. "And just every day showing up ready to do extra work."

Outside linebacker Cam Johnson has practiced every day this week after having a clean-up procedure on his knee in June. Johnson suffered the injury during his senior year at Virginia. Johnson indicated he is not yet fully healthy.

"Like I said, I'm trying to progress every day," Johnson said. "I couldn't put a number on it, but I'm feeling better and - like I said - trying to progress."

Sixth-round pick Jason Slowey, a left tackle at Western Oregon, said he's been learning center and guard over the past three months. "They want me to play all three inside positions," he said. "That's the plan."

-- 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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