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August 12, 2012
Day 12 recap: Harbaugh vs. shirtless fan; Walker injured


The highlight of Sunday's 49ers practice at Candlestick Park may have been the 12th man on the field.

Toward the end of the session, a shirtless, shaggy-haired fan ran from the north end of the field and made his way, amid a roar from the crowd, to where the 49ers were stationed on the south end. His journey ended two feet from none other than Jim Harbaugh, who seemed like he wanted to clock the intruder but ended up allowing security to take him away.

"He called me coach or something, but I didn't say anything," Harbaugh said afterward. "Glad he was clothed. Glad he wasn't naked." Other than that, the 49ers' annual Fan Fest went smoothly. The team reported it had sold approximately 32,000 tickets to the event, four times the number that showed up last year.

That uptick in attendance likely is due to two things: 1.) The high interest and expectations in the 49ers after their 13-3 season last year and 2.) The fact that Sunday's session was the only training-camp practice open to the public.

In a normal summer, fans have the opportunity to attend one of dozens of open practices at the team's headquarters in Santa Clara. This year, however, 1 ½ acres of practice fields there were lost to stadium-related construction, which meant there was no room for bleachers or for public practices.

Harbaugh seemed to enjoy the change of pace as he signed autographs for more than a half hour after practice. "A lot of support for our team," he said of the fans' presence. "I think they felt that from the moment they stepped on the field."

Tight end Delanie Walker went down with a right knee injury after blocking outside linebacker Eric Bakhtiari in 11-on-11 drills. Walker watched practice with a bag of ice on his right knee before walking into the locker room with a slight limp a half hour before the session ended.

Harbaugh said he still needed to wait for more information from team doctors, but he said his sense was "we dodged another bullet there." The 49ers already were practicing without Nate Byham, who was held out of Friday's game, too. The 49eers will host tight ends for tryouts this week.

Harbaugh said he thought outside linebacker Aldon Smith would be "out a week, back a week - but we'll see." Smith suffered a right hip pointer in the first quarter of Friday's game and did not return. Parys Haralson will fill in at right outside linebacker while Smith recovers.

Et cetera - Why was Vernon Davis wearing No. 87 instead of his normal No. 85? "I forgot it," he said of his jersey. "In the rush, I forgot it."

• The practice ended with a long, 19-play drive that ended with an Alex Smith touchdown pass to tight end Konrad Reuland - AKA, the Garbage Man -- in the corner of the end zone.

• Defensive end Justin Smith, running back Frank Gore and receiver Mario Manningham practiced after being held out of Friday's preseason game. Byham, Cam Johnson, Darius Fleming and Aldon Smith did not make the trip to Candlestick.

-- 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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