Receiver A.J. Jenkins today said that wants to return next season as "a totally different player" and that he planned to work out with buddy Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta where he trained before the draft.
"Obviously, I want to contribute a lot more than I have been," Jenkins said. "So I'm going to make that happen and come back bigger, faster, stronger. "
As every 49ers fan knows all too well, Jenkins went through the season without a catch and was lightly utilized even after the team lost Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham to season-ending knee injuries. Jenkins only was active for three games in the regular season. He was in uniform during the playoffs but had no passes thrown his way. He played three snaps in the Super Bowl.
The 49ers may have to lean on Jenkins next season, especially early on.
Williams said he was ahead of schedule as far as his rehabilitation from a torn ACL while Manningham still was on crutches during the Super Bowl. Both are scheduled to be back on the field for the start of the 2013 season, but ACL injuries can have lingering effects, and neither can be relied upon at this point.
Meanwhile, two more receivers, Randy Moss and Ted Ginn, are not under contract for next season. Moss has said he wants to play in 2013 but not necessarily in San Francisco where he felt he was under-used in 2012. Asked if Moss conveyed those thoughts to him this season, Harbaugh said, "Well, in a competitive way, yes. He wants to be involved and we've talked about it many times, the suggestions he's made. And it's all been positive. All been good."
Jenkins said he wants to be ready for the call. "Obviously, they made me a first-round choice for that purpose," he said. "I'm going to accountable this offseason and make myself the kind of player that they want me to be."
When Jenkins was drafted in April, general manager Trent Baalke said he loved the receiver's big, soft hands and the speed with which he got in and out of breaks. One area that needed work, Baalke said, was strength, and Jenkins said he would dedicate himself to the weight room this year.
He said he'd go home to Jacksonville for a "couple of days" and, as soon as he could, return to Santa Clara to work with strength coach Mark Uyeyama. He also said he would spend time in Atlanta with Kaepernick and continue working on their chemistry.
"Me and him already are great friends off the field," Jenkins said. "So hopefully, we can get that chemistry on the field."
- Matt Barrows