49ers Blog and Q&A

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

May 31, 2013
49ers ink running back Lattimore to four-year deal

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And then there were two ...

The 49ers today announced they had signed running back Marcus Lattimore, the second of their two fourth-round picks, to a four-year contract. That leaves only first-round pick Eric Reid and third-round selection Corey Lemonier unsigned.

Lattimore, 21, is considered one of the most talented runners in this year's draft class, but he suffered knee injuries in each of the last two seasons, including a gruesome blow to his right knee which tore three ligaments and dislocated the knee cap. Lattimore has been rehabilitating -- slowly -- with the team's training staff while the rest of the 49ers go through OTA practices.

It is unlikely that Lattimore, a three-time All-SEC selection, will begin the season on the 49ers' 53-man roster. Instead, he could begin on the non-football injury list, which would give the team the option of activating him later in the year. They took the same approach last season with running back Jewel Hampton, who was dealing with bone spurs in his foot.

-- Matt Barrows

May 31, 2013
Brotherly love: Asomugha seems at ease with 49ers

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The lasting image from Nnamdi Asomugha's two years in Philly is of the multi-million-dollar cornerback eating lunch alone in his car while teammates dined at the the team facility. Asomugha's stint there was difficult, and he never seemed to fit in - neither in the Eagles defense nor apparently in the locker room.

This week Asomugha described a more comfortable situation with the 49ers. For one, the cornerback said, there's time to ease into the situation. "The adjustment really hasn't been that hard," he said. "The last time I had to make the adjustment in like a day because it was a lockout year. So making an adjustment with a full offseason and playing in a place I've played in before and an area that I know, the adjustment hasn't been hard."

The expectations for Asomugha also aren't nearly as onerous. He went to Philadelphia in 2011 with a reputation as the top cornerback in the league and a contract to match, one that called for him to make $60 million over five seasons. Asomugha proved to be a poor fit in the Eagles' defense, his salary became unwieldy and he was released earlier this year.

The contrast with his salary this year is stark. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $1.35 million contract with no guaranteed money. Asomugha is competing for a spot on the team. With Tarell Brown working out in Texas this offseason, he has been running with the 49ers' first-team defense during OTA sessions.

May 30, 2013
Whose board was better? Cowboys had differing opinions of 49ers' picks

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When it came to last month's draft, the 49ers reached for safety Eric Reid. And for defensive end Tank Carradine, tight end Vance McDonald and outside linebacker Corey Lemonier.

This, according to the Dallas Cowboys, whose draft board was revealed for the second time in three seasons via draft-day photos that were nicely deciphered by bloggingtheboys.com here. The Cowboys, of course, swapped spots with the 49ers in the first round so that San Francisco could take Reid with the 18th overall pick. The 49ers also traded a third-round pick, No. 74, to the Cowboys, who, judging from their draft board, felt the third and fifth rounds were full of talent.

As you can see from their board, many of the players the Cowboys considered first-round talents already were taken by No. 18. According to their board, they also ended up reaching - but just a bit - for guard/center Travis Frederick, whom they took at the 49ers' former No. 31 position. They had Frederick rated as a second rounder as well.

The draft board indicates Dallas thought Carradine, McDonald and Lemonier were taken one round early. However, Dallas seems to have thought the fourth round was the right spot for receiver Quinton Patton, whom the 49ers took with the 31st pick in that round. Injured running back Marcus Lattimore, whom the 49ers selected three spots after Patton, wasn't on Dallas' draft board nor were Quinton Dial, Nick Moody, B.J. Daniels, Carter Bykowski and Marcus Cooper.

Whose board is better? Three years ago, the Cowboys board indicated they felt tackle Anthony Davis was a reach with the 11th overall pick. They had him ranked as a third rounder. (Davis has started every game since and recently was awarded a contract extension). Then again, Dallas had linebacker NaVorro Bowman rated as a first-round talent that year. The 49ers got him in the third round and Bowman has been a first-team all-pro selection the last two years.

Also in the 49ers' favor: They have been to the championship game the last two seasons and, as far as I know, haven't mistakenly revealed their draft board. Twice.

-- Matt Barrows

May 30, 2013
OTAs: Asomugha benefiting from Tarell Brown's absence

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On Wednesday we looked at the offensive starters who were missing from spring OTAs and the young players that benefit from those absences. Today the defense gets examined:

Defensive end: Justin Smith returning from a torn triceps tendon.

Beneficiaries: Will Tukuafu, Demarcus Dobbs, Lawrence Okoye
In a perfect world for the 49ers, draft picks Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial would be lining up at Smith's right defensive end position and getting valuable practice repetitions. Both players, however, are recovering from injuries - an ACL tear to Carradine and a toe injury for Dial.

That's given Tukuafu and Dobbs - two players whose roster spots are very much up in the air following the draft - more chances to make an impression. Ian Williams, who is considered more of a nose tackle, also has gotten a chance to play right defensive end with Glenn Dorsey at nose tackle. (Tony Jerod-Eddie mostly has been on the left side behind Ray McDonald). The second-team repetitions at right defensive end were taken by Okoye, who has been playing NFL American football for exactly three weeks now. This has allowed him to take a true crash course at the position, albeit in non-contact drills. My prediction is that Okoye's long legs are going to be a hindrance and that he's going to get a rude awakening in training camp when it comes to leverage in trenches. How he reacts will be key.

Outside linebacker: Aldon Smith recovering from shoulder surgery; Ahmad Brooks unknown ailment.

May 29, 2013
The other half: Which 49ers benefit from starters' absences

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By my count, 11 of San Francisco's 22 presumed starters either were not on hand or were rehabilitating from injuries during Tuesday's voluntary OTA session. No one should panic. The only one of that group not expected to be ready for training camp in late July is Michael Crabtree (though Mario Manningham is unlikely to be on hand, either).

Meanwhile, the absences are allowing rookies and newcomers to get up to speed with the playbook and giving coaches time to evaluate young players. Here are the beneficiaries when it comes to the 49ers' offense.

Offensive tackle: Joe Staley rehabilitating from arthroscopic knee surgery; Anthony Davis absent.

Beneficiaries: Kenny Wiggins and draft pick Carter Bykowski.

Wiggins has been lining up at Staley's left tackle spot so far this offseason. (I wrote about him earlier this month). Bykowski, a seventh-round pick, lined up at left tackle with the second-team offense. The right tackles were Adam Snyder and Patrick Omameh.

The team presumably is looking for a "swing" offensive tackle - someone who could step in if either Staley or Davis went down during the season. However, here's what Jim Harbaugh said when asked about the need for a swing tackle: "Yeah, I think that's something that Adam brings the ability to do that. But, you also have Alex Boone can play either tackle as well, very versatile player. So, it gives us some options." Both Snyder and Boone are listed as guards.

May 28, 2013
49ers OTA notebook: Anquan Boldin's big afternoon

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Patrick Willis must have been having Super Bowl flashbacks Tuesday afternoon. There he was matched up against Anquan Boldin, and there was Boldin catching a whistling pass in heavy traffic up the middle of the field.

And Willis wasn't Boldin's only victim. With Michael Crabtree's Achilles injury still the No. 1 49ers-related topic, Boldin showed that it might not take long for him to pick up the offense and replace Crabtree as Colin Kaepernick's favorite target.

Boldin caught several passes from Kaepernick, including one during a two-minute drill at the end of practice. He also was the top target for the team's other three quarterbacks - Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien and rookie B.J. Daniels. In all, Boldin caught eight passes, one of them a touchdown snag between two defenders on a pass from Daniels.

"You got a good look at what he's been doing," Jim Harbaugh said. "He's picked up the system fast and making plays, big catches in tight areas."

Boldin said joining a new squad was a little like "being a rookie all over again." Still, Crabtree's injury means he is the only sure thing at receiver on the roster. Harbaugh said that Boldin will start at one position, the Z or "flanker" receiver, and a host of inexperienced players will compete at the other spot, the X or "split end."

May 28, 2013
Staley among 49ers starters recovering from offseason surgery

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The 49ers kicked off their Week 2 OTA practice without a host of their veteran players, which is to be expected at this time of the year. Several of them were on the field but either not taking part in the practice sessions or working out on a side field with trainers.

That group includes defensive end Justin Smith (arm) and outside linebacker Aldon Smith (shoulder), both of whom are recovering from offseason surgeries. Pro Bowl offensive linemen Mike Iupati (shoulder) and Joe Staley (knee) also are not taking part. Both had minor arthroscopic surgeries after the season and are expected to be at full speed by training camp.

Staley dealt with his knee issue during the 2012 season and could have played through it again this year but decided to have it taken care of now. The 49ers are looking for a swing offensive tackle, and Staley's absence is allowing the team to get long looks at Kenny Wiggins, rookie Carter Bykowski and others.

Meanwhile, running back Frank Gore and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks also were working out with trainers and not practicing. It's not known at this point whether they have injuries or are simply allowing younger players to get repetitions at the OTA. ***UPDATE*** Harbaugh said that Gore was "working through something" but that the injury wasn't serious.

Receivers Michael Crabtree (Achilles) and Mario Manningham (ACL) also were absent. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman, cornerback Tarell Brown and center Jonathan Goodwin are not attending this week's voluntary OTA.

The good news: receiver Kyle Williams (ACL) and running back Kendall Hunter (Achilles) were in uniform and taking part in individual drills at the start of practice.

-- Matt Barrows

May 28, 2013
49ers Week 1 receivers: Anquan Boldin and (fill in the blank)

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No team wants to see its best wide receiver go down with a completely torn Achilles tendon. But if there are any silver linings to Michael Crabtree's injury, it's that it occurred in mid May and that the team already has an accomplished receiver with Crabtree-like abilities on the roster.

The lone critique when the 49ers acquired Anquan Boldin in March was that he was similar skills-wise to Crabtree. Neither is known for his speed, and both earn their livings with physical play on underneath routes. That is, while both are formidable receivers, they didn't exactly complement each other.

Crabtree's injury makes this point moot, of course, and the receivers' similarities work in the team's favor. Boldin will be looked upon to fill Crabtree's 2012 role as Colin Kaepernick's go-to receiver, possession-type receiver, especially on third downs.

The two have been working on their rapport.

"He's picked up the offense really fast," Kaepernick said recently. "And he has great hands, so throwing to him is pretty easy. If you put it in his area, he's going to catch it. ... I don't think he's missed too many reps since he's been here. So as a quarterback, that's very reassuring to have a receiver come in and take that upon themselves to not come out and make mistakes."

The bigger question is which receivers will emerge opposite Boldin. Crabtree's mid-May injury - along with last year's ACL injuries to Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams - allows the team to give long looks to three promising but inexperienced prospects.

May 27, 2013
Crabtree injury: May gloom can end in February brilliance

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I landed at San Francisco International Airport last night, turned on my phone for the first time in eight days and discovered 6,728 messages (only a slight exaggeration). Some thoughts on what prompted that flurry of activity:

* It's hard to overstate Michael Crabtree's importance to the 49ers' passing game. He obviously was Colin Kaepernick's favorite receiver (a whopping 92 targets in the 10 games Kaepernick started) last season, and moreover was Kaepernick's go-to receiver on critical plays and third downs. San Francisco's final attempts to score at the end of the Super Bowl clearly illustrate Kaepernick's comfort and confidence in Crabtree.

The doom and gloom about the 49ers' 2013 prospects, however, aren't taking into account recent history. Terrell Suggs' Achilles injury last year has been cited often in the last week because the Ravens' inside linebacker was able to return to field at midseason (Oct. 21). But it's perhaps more notable because the Ravens ended up winning the Super Bowl. The same apocalyptic headlines about the 49ers were being applied to the Ravens at this time last year. In fact, Baltimore dealt with major injuries to Suggs and inside linebacker Ray Lewis and still won a championship. Which is to say that injuries, including springtime injuries, can be overcome.

And you can bet Jim Harbaugh will find a way to use Crabtree's injury as a psychological advantage. It only reinforces the us-vs.-the world, band-of-brothers mentality the 49ers head coach has successfully fostered in Santa Clara.

* The bad news about the Suggs comparison ... The Ravens linebacker suffered his injury a bit earlier than Crabtree, on April 29. What's more significant is that Suggs' was a partial tear. Crabtree's reportedly is a complete tear. It not only will take longer for the tendon to heal, it will take longer for the muscles in Crabtree's right leg - especially his calf - to be back to full strength. Crabtree's game centers around making sharp cuts and exploding upfield. The big question now is when he will be able to regain that explosion.

May 22, 2013
Report: 49ers receiver Crabtree suffers torn Achilles tendon

Bee sport staff

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree has suffered a torn Achilles' tendon while participating in organized team activities Tuesday and will likely be lost for the upcoming season, the USA Today is reporting from the team's headquarters in Santa Clara.

A person speaking on the condition of anonymity told the paper Crabtree will undergo surgery and begin the season on the physically unable to perform list.

In his fourth season in 2012, Crabtree was the most consistent receiver for the 49ers. He caught a career high 85 passes for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns.

The 49ers have not commented on this report.

Return more for this story and read Thursday's Sports section for further coverage

May 17, 2013
Seahawk's miscue gets no sympathy from 49ers defender

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Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin, a player the 49ers had their eye on in the 2012 draft, has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's rules on performance enhancing substances. He's not getting support from 49ers fans or from one 49er.

"I have no sympathy for violators of NFL drug test," safety Craig Dahl tweeted after news broke of Irvin's suspension. "It's easy to know what goes in your body. If this was another sport what would happen?"

The 49ers and Seahawks, of course, have developed one of the best - if the not the best - rivalries in the NFL, and they will meet in Seattle in Week 2. Irvin, the Seahawks' first-round pick last year, stands to miss that Sunday night game. Dahl is in his first year with the 49ers but played on another NFC West squad, the Rams, for the last four seasons.

The Tacoma News-Tribune notes that Irvin is the sixth Seahawk to be busted for performance-enhancing substances since 2011. Cornerback Richard Sherman had a high-profile case last season that ultimately was reversed by the league. Of course, the 49ers aren't exactly angels on the topic. Linebacker Larry Grant, who spent the last two seasons in San Francisco and who is now a free agent, also has been suspended four games for a PED violation.

Irvin apologized and announced he would not appeal the punishment. 

"I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and Seahawks fans for making a mistake when I took a substance that is prohibited in the NFL without a medical exemption," he said in a statement released by the team. "I am extremely disappointed in the poor judgment I showed and take full responsibility for my actions. I will not appeal the discipline and instead will focus my energy on preparing for the season so I can begin earning your trust and respect again. I look forward to contributing to the team the moment I return."

Irvin was a situational pass rusher last season and finished with eight sacks. He was one of several Seahawks in line to fill in for last year's starter, Chris Clemons, who suffered an ACL tear in the playoffs. Other candidates are free-agent pickups Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.

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Another statement: Matt Barrows is going on week-long vacation/workation beginning Saturday. The 49ers will hold an OTA session next week (and the week after that and the week after that), and of course, the league will award Super Bowls L and LI on Tuesday. The Bay Area is the frontrunner for Super Bowl L.

Keep an eye out for a story of receiver Ricardo Lockette, who promises to be one of the more intriguing story lines this offseason. It is scheduled to run Sunday in The Bee.

-- Matt Barrows

May 17, 2013
Let's start the bidding: 49ers, Bay Area to learn Super Bowl fate Tuesday

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At around noon on Tuesday, the Bay Area will learn whether it's hosting Super Bowl L, Super Bowl LI or neither.

Here's how it will play out. All three regions in the running for the two games - the Bay Area, South Florida and Houston - will give 15-minute presentations to the NFL owners who are holding a league meeting in Boston next week. The Bay Area and South Florida are bidding for Super Bowl L, which will be played in February 2016. The loser of that bid will take on Houston for the right to host Super Bowl LI in February 2017.

The NFL owners will vote by secret ballot and the ballots will be tabulated by NFL vice president of events Frank Supovitz. On the first vote, a region must get 75 percent of the votes to win. (In most years, there are three regions vying for the Super Bowl). If neither the Bay Area nor South Florida gets 75 percent, it goes to a second vote in which 75 percent also is needed. If that threshold still isn't met, a third vote is taken in which a simple majority is needed for the win.

At that point, Supovitz will hand the results to commissioner Roger Goodell, who will announce a winner. Then the voting will begin anew between the losing region and Houston. I'm told NFL Network will air the event.

It will be an upset if the Bay Area doesn't get Super Bowl L, the 50th game played and one that has more prestige than other recent games because it will reflect on all the past Super Bowls. It will be a colossal upset if the Bay Area gets shut out entirely.

May 16, 2013
The skinny: A.J. Jenkins muscled up this offseason

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The skinny on A.J. Jenkins: The former first-round wide receiver isn't as skinny anymore.

That, of course, was the one concern general manager Trent Baalke raised on draft day last year. Circumstances -- injuries and otherwise -- prevented Jenkins from a full offseason in the weight room while at Illinois, and as a result his strength and power weren't ideal last year. Indeed the slender receiver, who is listed at 192 pounds, seemed to spend a lot of time on the ground during practices last year.

"If there's an area where A.J.'s got to get better in, it's called the weight room, and he will," Baalke said. "He's had some unfortunate situations that haven't allowed him to fully attack the weight room in the offseason. Once he gets in there and figures out how to be a pro receiver - which we're very confident we can help him along in that area - we feel we've got a very good player. A very good fit for this system."

Nothing inhibited Jenkins this offseason. He spent six weeks with quarterback Colin Kaepernick and fellow wideout Ricardo Lockette in Atlanta where they concentrated on strength and speed training. It remains to be seen whether that work will translate to the field, but recent photos of Jenkins show a more bulked-up receiver, and the reports from Atlanta were positive as well.

Said Lockette: "I think A.J. will definitely surprise a lot of people this year. Last year, he took it as a building year. This year from what I've seen so far, it's night and day. I expect big things out of him. He expects big things out of himself, and Kap expects big things out of him. I think Niner nation and the Niner empire will be proud of what A.J. Jenkins brings to the field this year."

May 15, 2013
Report: 49ers looking at Mangini for consulting role

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The 49ers are talking with former Jets and Browns head coach Eric Mangini about a consulting position, according to CBS' Jason LaCanfora.

Mangini has been out of football since being sacked by the Browns at the end of the 2010 season, and he's been working as an analyst for ESPN since. Mangini was a defensive coordinator in New England before the Jets hired him as head coach in 2006, and most of his coaching experience is on the defensive side. If he were hired by the 49ers, however, his role would be to consult with the offensive staff on dealing with certain defenses, LaCanfora writes.

That makes sense. Former Nevada coach Chris Ault invented the Pistol formation that has become all the rage in the NFL. But NFL teams were interested in hiring Ault not so much to aid their offenses but to better prepare their defenses for facing the Colin Kaepernicks and Robert Griffin III's of the league. The Chiefs recently hired Ault as a full-time consultant. (The 49ers were not one of the teams pursuing Ault).

Back to Mangini. He's only 42 and ostensibly is looking at a consulting job as a way of returning to the NFL. Is he looking at a future opening on the 49ers' staff?

May 15, 2013
Ninety Niners: Breakdown of 49ers offseason roster

The 49ers on Tuesday signed undrafted fullback Jason Schepler (6-2 and 274 pounds) to a three-year contract, bringing their roster to the 90-man offseason limit. The bottom of the roster is likely to fluctuate throughout the rest of the spring and summer, but here's how it stands now.

The second number listed below is the number of players the 49ers had at a position when the 2012 season ended. Rookies are in italics.

Quarterbacks: 4/3
Colin Kaepernick
Colt McCoy
Scott Tolzien
B.J. Daniels

Running backs: 7/4
Frank Gore
Kendall Hunter
LaMichael James
Anthony Dixon
Jewel Hampton
Marcus Lattimore
D.J. Harper

Fullbacks: 3/1
Bruce Miller
Alex Debniak
Jason Schepler

Wide receivers: 11/5
Michael Crabtree
Anquan Boldin
Kyle Williams
Mario Manningham
A.J. Jenkins
Quinton Patton
Ricardo Lockette
Marlon Moore
Chad Hall
Joe Hastings
Chuck Jacobs

May 14, 2013
Who wore it better? Kaepernick to be featured in magazine's 'body issue.'

Congratulations to Mark Uyeyama and the rest of the 49ers strength and conditioning staff. For the second time in three years, a 49er will be featured in the 'body issue' of ESPN the magazine. The latest bare-chested 49er in the issue will be Colin Kaepernick, whose body - and what's written on it - was scrutinized, celebrated and decried (by this guy) last season. Patrick Willis was featured in 2010. (Jim Harbaugh is lobbying for Lawrence "Adonis" Okoye in 2014).

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May 13, 2013
Packers' rookie doesn't think Kaepernick can keep up his pace

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Colin Kaepernick spent the divisional playoff game running through the Green Bay Packers defense and the offseason running through the Packers' minds. Green Bay's offseason, it seems, has been dedicated to making sure its defense never gets gouged like it did Jan. 12 when Kaepernick ran for 181 yards - an NFL record for a quarterback - and scored two touchdowns in a 45-31 win at Candlestick Park.

The team's coaches headed to Texas A&M in the offseason for a tutorial on how to stop the read-option attack. And they used their first-round draft pick on defensive end Datone Jones, who faced plenty of read-option defenses while at UCLA. The Green Bay Press-Gazette recently wrote about how Jones is well-suited to stopping quarterbacks like Kaepernick and Washington's Robert Griffin III.

"I thought he was pretty good," Jones said of Kaepernick's playoff game against Green Bay. "But I don't think they're going to be able to run him like that. He takes one good hit, there goes their season."

Here's the rub: Kaepernick may hold the single-game rushing record for a quarterback. But unlike Griffin's Redskins, the read-option was only a part - sometimes a small part - of the 49ers offense. He averaged six carries per game in his seven regular-season starts. In arguably his best game of the regular season against Chicago, he ran the ball four times for 10 yards. Yes, that number jumped to 16 carries against the Packers in the divisional playoffs. But a week later against the Falcons, he had two carries for 21 yards.

May 12, 2013
Kaepernick watches B.J. Daniels shine; Baalke observes Okoye in action

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As if B.J. Daniels and Nate Montana weren't under enough pressure ... Midway through Saturday's rookie minicamp practice, a guy wearing a yellow Warriors cap and a white Warriors jersey walked onto the practice field. It was Colin Kaepernick, who hung around to watch most of the session. (The only other veteran observer has been Anthony Davis, whose brother, Andre, is getting a tryout). What did Kaepernick see?

Both quarterbacks have looked sharp at times, albeit in a shells-only, minimum-pass-rush, don't-touch-the-quarterback context. Daniels in particular isn't shy about flinging the ball downfield, and he connected on long downfield passes to receiver Brandon Carswell and tight end H-back MarQueis Gray. Montana connected deep with receiver Greg Wilson.

Daniels has a quicker release than Montana and is much more active in the pocket. Like Kaepernick, he also is comfortable running with the ball, and he had two long runs around the right side with Kaepernick observing from the sideline.

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As you would expect at this type of camp, there were highlights and lowlights for every player on Saturday. Montana, for example, was late or off target on a few throws. With none of his deep receivers open, he checked down to running back Isi Sofele, who was 10 yards away. The pass, however, may have been too hard, and it went through Sofele's hands and was intercepted by inside linebacker Nate Stupar. Stupar will compete this summer with Dan Skuta, Michael Wilhoite and draft pick Nick Moody for one of the backup roles behind Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.

May 11, 2013
B.J. Daniels concentrating on quarterback ... mostly

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B.J Daniels never played any position but quarterback at South Florida. Quarterbacks, however, are nothing if not studious and prepared. And Daniels figured it was a good idea to diversify his portfolio in the run-up to the draft.

The 49ers' seventh-round draft pick rounded up the school's punter and worked on his punt-return skills throughout the spring in Tampa. That preparation came in handy at the end of Friday's initial 49ers practice when Daniels - he and Nate Montana are the only two rookies playing quarterback this weekend - was told to join a group of wide receivers and defensive backs taking turns at punt and kick returns.

Daniels didn't look at out place. "I'm comfortable with my hands and, like I said, anything I can do to help out is what I'm going to do," said Daniels, adding that he prepared himself for punt returns this spring, "just to keep my options open."

That versatility probably is Daniels' ticket to making the 49ers' roster this summer. The team needs players who can handle punt and kick returns after Ted Ginn signed with the Panthers in free agency. Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter likely are the frontrunners for both duties, but both players are coming off of season-ending injuries suffered Nov. 25. The 49ers need options.

May 10, 2013
Minicamp notes: Dial's injury means Okoye "starts" at defensive end

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It turns out that four rookies are not taking part in the ongoing minicamp practices. Quinton Dial (toe) was standing next to fellow defensive lineman Tank Carradine (knee) throughout the practice. The others not practicing are running back Marcus Lattimore (knee) and offensive tackle Luke Marquardt (foot).

* There are only two quarterbacks at the session - draft pick B.J. Daniels and Nate Montana. Daniels also took some repetitions at running back early in the session and at punt- and kick returner later in the practice. He looked very natural running with the ball in his hands.

* From the no-duh department: Brit Lawrence Okoye is a project, a long-term project. But he certainly looked the part during today's minicamp. He's tall (6-6), long-armed and muscular. At the very least, he has the prototypical silhouette of a 3-4 defensive end. The question that will be answered over the next year or so is whether he has the demeanor and the drive. With Dial and Carradine out, Okoye was the de facto "starter" today. He certainly received a lot of repetitions and definitely was winded by the end of the 2 1/2-hour session. Prediction: He will be as sore as he's ever been in his life Saturday morning.

* The highlight of the day was the "box jump" drill during which the players first leaped, from a standing position, onto a 2 1/2- 3 1/2-foot-tall box. From there, they were told to immediately leap -- butt first -- onto a huge mattress. It was like watching 315-pound men do cannonballs into a pool. The most impressive leaper -- no surprise -- was Okoye, who got what can only be described as insane height for someone his size. He also excelled at the medicine ball toss at the end of practice, hurling it 18 yards behind him. That was about nine yards farther than anyone else. The tower at San Jose International is still wondering what was showing up on its radar around 5:30 p.m.

May 10, 2013
49ers notes: Early bird Patton misses first flight to SF

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From the department if irony: The 49ers' rookie who was most eager to join his teammates after the draft will be the last rookie to officially join the full squad for offseason workouts.

Jim Harbaugh said that every will be able to join the team on Monday except for wide receiver Quinton Patton. Louisiana Tech's graduation is later than most other schools, and NFL rules forbid Patton from joining his squad until the school session has ended.

Patton became entangled in the NFL rules on April 29 when he bought a plane ticket from Nashville to San Francisco, rented a car and told the 49ers he was on his way to the team facility. Harbaugh had to call back and tell him to turn around - draft picks can visit their new teams 24 hours after they are drafted but otherwise can't arrive until the rookie minicamp, which began today with a morning walk-through.

Patton, meanwhile, missed his initial, 7 a.m. flight to San Francisco this week when he couldn't find his driver's license at the airport. Turns out it was buried deep in his luggage and he took another flight that afternoon.

"I was like 'Man, I tried to come out there early last time and now I can't even get out there this time,'" he said.

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There are two quarterbacks at the 49ers' rookie minicamp, seventh-round pick B.J. Daniels and undrafted free agent Nate Montana, who was given a tryout by the 49ers. Joe's son said he also received a tryout invitation from the Bengals. But Cincinnati's minicamp also was this weekend, and Montana said he thought he had a better chance of catching on with San Francisco.

May 10, 2013
Harbaugh says Lattimore's medical exam yields good news

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Step one for the 49ers' rookie class: A battery of tests and examinations up the road at Stanford Hospital.

For two members of the class, second-round pick Tank Carradine and fourth rounder Marcus Lattimore, the results were promising, Jim Harbaugh said Friday.

"Everything looks good structurally with all the guys that we drafted," he said. "The ACL looks really good for Marcus. We're just going to have to take a step back in terms of the cutting because we want that inside of the knee, the lateral side of the knee, to heal fully. But we're good."

Lattimore, of course, tore three knee ligaments, including the ACL, last year, and his heroic rehabilitation was one of the biggest story lines in the months before the draft. After the draft, however, Harbaugh said he wanted Lattimore, a running back, to slow down that rehabilitation, and he hinted that Lattimore might not play in 2013.

Lattimore today said he'd accept that scenario if that's what occurs. "I think that would be fine," he said. "Whatever happens, you know, these next three months will probably determine that. I'm just going to continue to keep working hard, and if I'm called upon, I feel like hopefully I'll be ready."

Harbaugh cautioned that no decisions have been made on Lattimore or Carradine, a defensive lineman who tore his ACL in November. He said the team's training staff, led by head trainer Jeff Ferguson, was excited by the challenge presented by the team's 2013 draft class.

"It's the Super Bowl for them," he said. "They're fired up about that."

********************
Undrafted free agent Luke Marquardt, an offensive tackle, is on crutches and in a walking boot. He is recovering from a broken foot.

-- Matt Barrows

May 10, 2013
49ers lock up Dial, others as rookie minicamp set to begin

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***UPDATE*** The 49ers also signed sixth-round pick Nick Moody to a four-year deal.

On the eve of their rookie minicamp, the 49ers have struck deals with four of their draft picks with several more on their way.

The team agreed to four-year deals with defensive lineman Quinton Dial, a fifth-round pick, sixth-round pick Nick Moody, and seventh-round picks B.J. Daniels, Carter Bykowski and Marcus Cooper. The 49ers currently are working on contracts for the seven players selected between the fourth and seventh rounds.

Dial's deal is unknown, but it promises to be slightly better than the four-year, $2.284 million contract Falcons fullback Bradie Ewing received last year. Like Dial, Ewing was the 157th overall pick. The salaries of most draft picks are slotted, and there is little negotiation, at least not as much as there was prior to the current collective bargaining agreement.

That means teams like the 49ers can complete rookie deals early and in quick succession. Last year, for example, they signed every pick but first rounder A.J. Jenkins by the time of their first May minicamp.

The 49ers are hoping the 6-5, 318-pound Dial, who played at Alabama, will provide depth this year, and he will get looks at all three positions on the line, including nose tackle. Daniels, meanwhile, will get snaps at quarterback, his position at South Florida, but could be used at other positions, including as a return man. Scout.com reported that Daniels' four-year is for $2.206 million and includes a $46,512 bonus.

Moody began at Florida State as a safety but moved to linebacker. He'll play inside linebacker -- as well as special teams -- for the 49ers. Bykowski was drafted to provide depth at offensive tackle while Cooper is the type of big (6-2) and athletic cornerback the 49ers prefer.

-- Matt Barrows

May 8, 2013
Rookies not the only ones attending 49ers rookie minicamp

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The players participating in the 49ers' rookie minicamp this weekend aren't all rookies. The group falls into three categories: draft picks and undrafted free agents; tryout players; and players who were on the roster last year that did not accrue any pension credit.

By my calculation, there are six players in that last category:

OL Al Netter
OL Wayne Tribue
OL Kenny Wiggins
S Michael Thomas
LB Nate Stupar
P Anthony Santella

Here are the incoming rookies:

Drafted:
S Eric Reid (1st)
DL *Cornelius "Tank" Carradine (2nd)
TE Vance McDonald (2nd)
OLB Corey Lemonier (3rd)
WR Quinton Patton (4th)
RB *Marcus Lattimore (4th)
DL Quinton Dial (5th)
LB Nick Moody (6th)
QB/PR B.J. Daniels (7th)
OT Carter Bykowski (7th)
CB Marcus Cooper (7th)

May 8, 2013
Levi's Stadium: 49ers announce $220 million naming rights deal with jeans maker

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Boot-cut Field? Bell-bottom Park? The Zipper?

The 49ers today announced a $220 million stadium naming-rights deal with San Francisco-based jeans manufacturer Levi Strauss Co. The team's new 68,500-seat facility officially will be called Levi's Stadium, and a sign with that name will stretch across the 190-foot-long scoreboards on either end of the field.

The team is set to open its new, $1.2 billion facility next year, and a naming-rights deal is one of the ways the team will pay for the facility.

The deal is for the next 20 years with an option to extend it to 25 years. The deal averages $11 million per season, which likely is lower than the team hoped but which still puts it behind only MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for annual average. The MetLife deal is $400 million for 25 years. Both the Jets and Giants play their home games there.

Levi's was founded in 1853 when German immigrant Levis Strauss opened a dry goods store in San Francisco. The company made the first riveted men's work pants - known now as blue jeans -- in 1873. Levi's corporate headquarters remains in San Francisco.

The 49ers' new stadium, meanwhile, is 45 miles to the south in Santa Clara. The first games will be played there in 2014, and the team currently is bidding to host either Super Bowl L or LI, which will be played in February 2016 and 2017. A decision on which cities will host the upcoming Super Bowls will be made by league owners later this month.

levi's.jpg

Two of the new stadium's main themes are technology and green architecture, and many believed the naming-rights deal would be with a tech company based in Silicon Valley, which is where the stadium is located. Instead, the 49ers will stick to their San Francisco roots with a company that, appropriately, made goods for the original 49ers during the California gold rush.

Asked whether tie ins might include players wearing Levi's jeans, officials said those discussions still are in the works. Quipped CEO Jed York, "We're working on coach (Jim Harbaugh) to get him into a pair of jeans. I don't know whether he's been in anything other than khakis."

-- Matt Barrows

May 7, 2013
49ers sign a dozen undrafted rookies

The 49ers drafted 11 rookies last week and signed 12 more this week. The dozen include former British discus thrower Lawrence Okoye, who will get a chance to play defensive end, and 6-9 offensive tackle Luke Marquardt, who could have a future role as the team's 'swing' offensive tackle.

C Sherman Carter, Tennessee State
FB Alex Debniak, Stanford
HB, TE MarQueis Gray, Minnesota
RB D.J. Harper, Boise State
WR Chuck Jacobs, Utah State
T Luke Marquardt, Azusa Pacific
LS Kevin McDermott, UCLA
CB Darryl Morris, Texas State
DL Lawrence Okoye, no college
G Patrick Omameh, Michigan
NT Mike Purcell, Wyoming
CB Lowell Rose, Tulsa

Marquardt, who is recovering from a broken foot, will not take part in the rookie minicamp that begins Friday. Neither will draft picks Tank Carradine (knee) and Marcus Lattimore (knee).

The team also signed punter Anthony Santella to a one-year deal. The 6-2, 190-pound Santella played at Illinois and entered the league as an undrafted rookie with the Carolina Panthers in 2011. He spent training camp with the team that year before being released. He will provide practice relief for All-Pro Andy Lee as the 49ers attempt to find a punt returner.

-- Matt Barrows

May 7, 2013
Matt Barrows talks about 49ers' upcoming rookie minicamp

Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers have their 11-man draft class. Now, it's time to move on to the next step. As the team's rookie minicamp approaches, it's time to discuss the possibilities and concerns.

Join Matt Barrows at 11 a.m. Tuesday for a live chat on the 49ers' upcoming rookie minicamp.

May 7, 2013
Iupati had offseason surgery, likely to miss some OTAs

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Add Mike Iupati to the list of 49ers who had surgery this offseason. The team's All-Pro and Pro-Bowl left guard had a procedure on his shoulder and is unlikely to take part in the team's upcoming OTA sessions, according to a source with knowledge of the injury.

Iupati started every game of the 2012 season and played 98 percent of the 49ers' offensive snaps. Beginning in Week 14, he was one of several 49ers who began appearing on the team's injury report with a shoulder injury. He was listed as 'probable' from that point through the Super Bowl. Iupati apparently injured the joint in a Week 13 win against the Dolphins.

The exact nature of the injury is unknown, but it is considered minor and Iupati is expected to be back at full strength for the start of training camp. Iupati also had shoulder surgery after his 2007 season at the University of Idaho.

Earlier this year, the 49ers gave starting right tackle Anthony Davis a five-year, $37 million contract extension. Iupati, who like Davis was a first-round pick in 2010, is believed to be next on the 49ers' contract to-do list, although that deal may not be done until after the 2013 season.

May 6, 2013
Harbaugh adds ex-Raider Ronald Curry to coaching staff

Jim Harbaugh was a lowly offensive assistant on the Raiders in 2002 when Oakland drafted wide receiver Ronald Curry in the seventh round. Now Curry will begin his coaching career at the same level on Harbaugh's 49ers staff.

"The 49ers and our staff are pleased to be initiating Ronald's NFL coaching career," Harbaugh said in a statement. "Our team will greatly benefit from Ronald's athletic experiences, and we are happy that he and his wife, Stacie, are joining our football family."

Curry also is familiar to receivers coach John Morton, who held the same position in Oakland when Curry arrived. He also will recognize cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, whom the Raiders drafted in 2003 and who is competing for a roster spot this season.
 
Curry, 33, played seven years in the NFL, recording 193 receptions for 2,347 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Raiders. He tore his Achilles tendon in 2004 and 2005.

Offensive assistant is the first rung on the NFL coaching ladder, but good prospects don't spend much time at that level. Harbaugh, for example, was the head coach at the University of San Diego two years after he took the Raiders job. The 49ers' offensive assistant in 2011, Bobby Engram, now coaches receivers at Pitt.

-- Matt Barrows

May 6, 2013
Welcome back: 49ers sign OL Adam Snyder to a two-year deal

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Adam Snyder is back with the 49ers after a one-year sojourn with the Cardinals, but the veteran will find the offensive line more crowded than when he left it. The former third-round draft pick signed a five-year, $17 million deal with the Cardinals last March but was released last week after just one year. The Cardinals used their top draft pick on a guard, Jonathan Cooper, and he is expected to start right away. Arizona gave up a league-high 58 sacks last season.

Snyder, who signed a two-year deal with San Francisco, can play any position on the offensive line, and that versatility is what makes him attractive to the 49ers. However, the five starting spots are set with tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis, guards Alex Boone and Mike Iupati and center Jonathan Goodwin. Two young players, Joe Looney and Daniel Kilgore, back up the interior positions on the line.

The 49ers are light at tackle, where Snyder has made 42 career starts. They used a seventh-round pick on Iowa State's Carter Bykowski and signed undrafted free agent Luke Marquardt. They also have Kenny Wiggins (Elk Grove High), who spent last season on the practice squad.

Snyder started 13 games for the 49ers in 2011. He played in 107 games (69 starts) for San Francisco over seven seasons. Along with good friends Joe Staley and Alex Smith, Snyder was instrumental in organizing and running the 49ers' player-led workouts during the lockout in 2011.

-- Matt Barrows

May 6, 2013
Multi-talented MarQueis Gray part of 49ers' post-draft haul

The 49ers this week will release the names of the dozen or so undrafted rookies they signed, and on Friday they will begin a three-day rookie minicamp.

One of the more interesting positions to watch will be tight end. The 49ers, of course, lost their No. 2 tight end, Delanie Walker, to the Titans in free agency, and they seemingly replaced him with Vance McDonald in the second round.

As was the case with Walker, who played wideout at Central Missouri, McDonald spent time at Rice as a wide receiver. While the 49ers' No. 1 tight end, Vernon Davis, primarily lines up at the end of the offensive line, the No. 2 tight end is used all over the formation - sometimes in the backfield as an H-back, sometimes split out as a wide receiver. That is, versatility and route running are required for the job, and McDonald already has a good start in both.

The other newcomer at the position also has a background similar to Walker's. MarQueis Gray was recruited at the University of Minnesota to play quarterback. But when he arrived there, the Golden Gophers already had a solid passer, Adam Weber, and they used Gray as a wide receiver his first two seasons. Gray caught 42 passes for 587 yards and five touchdowns in 2010.

May 6, 2013
Go Alex Smith? KC's 2013 record will affect 49ers' 2014 draft

AlexChief.jpg

For 49ers fans this season, it's root, root, root for the home team ... and the team in Kansas City.

That's because the Chiefs' record will have a bearing on San Francisco's draft. As Peter King reported this morning in Sports Illustrated, the 49ers would get Kansas City's second-round pick in the 2014 draft if the Chiefs, who have one of the easiest schedules in the league this year, finish 8-8 or better. It drops to a third-round pick if the Chiefs finish below .500.

A pick in next year's draft was one of the conditions in the deal that sent quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City earlier this year. That deal also supplied the 49ers with a second-round pick in the most recent draft, which they used in a draft-day trade with the Tennessee Titans. The 49ers eventually took Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine in the second-round and also got Tennessee's third-round pick in 2014.

The Chiefs finished 2-14 last season and wound up with the top pick in the draft, which they used on offensive tackle Eric Fisher. Of course, if they finished poorly again in 2013, their third-round pick - which would go to the 49ers - would be high in the round. If they were better than .500, the pick that goes to San Francisco would be in the middle or back end of Round 2. The best case scenario for the 49ers: The Chiefs finish 8-8.

May 3, 2013
Florida stadium bill failure good news for Bay Area Super Bowl

stadium1.jpg

The 49ers and the Bay Area took another step toward securing Super Bowl L today when Florida lawmakers could not work out a deal to provide taxpayer support for a $350 million upgrade of Sun Life Stadium. The Bay Area and South Florida are competing to host what is expected to be the marquee Super Bowl in recent years - the 50th game played - and the renovations are seen as key to South Florida winning the bid.

NFL owners will meet in Boston May 21 to award Super Bowls L and LI, which will be played in February 2016 and 2017 respectively. The Bay Area and South Florida are in the mix for Super Bowl L while the loser will take on Houston for the right to host Super Bowl LI.

The non-deal in Florida likely means that a referendum on the renovations scheduled for May 14 will be called off.

Meanwhile in the Bay Area, mayors from a number of area cities, including San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara, were on hand two months ago to check on the progress of the 49ers' new $1.2 billion stadium and to show that they are in lock step in trying to secure a Super Bowl.

Bid committee chairman Daniel Lurie would not put a figure on the economic impact to hosting a Super Bowl, but he noted that other cities that have held the event have reported a boost of anywhere from $250 million to more than $500 million. "We don't want to over promise," Lurie said at the time. "What we see is that every city that's had a Super Bowl wants it back."

The first Super Bowl was played in Los Angeles in 1967, and there would be a nice bit of symmetry if the 50th game were played in California as well. The state hasn't hosted a Super Bowl since the Raiders and Buccaneers squared off in San Diego in 2003. The last game in the Bay Area was in 1985.

The 49ers have long felt they will win one of the next Super Bowls to be awarded. The 50th game, of course, holds the most prestige, and that's the one the 49ers are gunning to get. Their new stadium is on track to be ready in 2014. Two full seasons must be played at a new facility before it hosts a Super Bowl.

-- Matt Barrows

May 3, 2013
Motor Car, ink.: Kaepernick the new face -- and arms -- for Jaguar

kap3.jpg

The new spokesman for Jaguar collects sneakers, has a pet tortoise and is covered in tattoos.

Yes, the stuffy British car company is getting a facelift with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been shooting a commercial in his new, sporty Jaguar F-Type V8 S.

The shooting took at least three days and features Kaepernick in his car at various Bay Area locales - including Santa Clara, on the shoreline and in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Why did it take three days? Because Kaepernick insisted on sticking to his normal routine of workouts and practice at the 49ers' facility in Santa Clara before shooting each afternoon.

The deal provides Kaepernick with a sleek, $92,000 burgundy convertible, which replaces the gray Chrysler sedan Rick Kaepernick bought his son almost a decade ago. Jaguar, however, might have the better end of the bargain. It gets to be hip. And it benefits from Kaepernick's crossover appeal.

"The coolest thing is that they're embracing him head to toe - his tattoos, everything," said Shawn Smith, Kaepernick's marketing agent.

In fact, Kaepernick's ink - deemed "controversial" by some when he became the 49ers' starter midway through last season - figures prominently in the commercial, which will air for the first time on ESPN on May 22. The theme is "Kaepernick's Bay Area" and the ad includes stops at the quarterback's barber shop and his favorite tattoo parlor.

Will the spot include the 49ers quarterback "Kaepernicking" - that's kissing his right biceps for the uninitiated - in front of his new car?

Said Smith: "That's probably a safe bet."

-- Matt Barrows

May 2, 2013
Monday wasn't first time a coach told Quinton Patton to go home

Monday wasn't the first time one of Quinton Patton's coaches told him to go home.

Former Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes on Thursday said those words were a refrain the last two years on the practice field in Ruston, La. where Patton often would stay late to work on his route running. "We told him that many times," said Dykes, who is now the head coach at Cal. "'We got our work done today, Quinton. Let's recharge our batteries and go back to work tomorrow.'"

Patton's new coach, Jim Harbaugh, told Patton the same thing Monday when Patton unexpectedly flew to the Bay Area to work out with the 49ers. League rules prohibit draft picks from practicing with their new team until the first rookie minicamp, which for the 49ers begins May 10. Harbaugh was impressed by the fourth-round pick's initiative but told him to fly back to Tennessee.

Dykes, meanwhile, said he knew he'd be getting an energetic an enthusiastic player when he watched film of Patton at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas where he played two seasons before arriving at Louisiana Tech. Not only did Patton line up at wide receiver at Coffeyville. He also played defensive back and was the school's punter.

May 2, 2013
Harbaugh tells rookie wideout to go home but loves his initiative

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Showing up late for your first-ever NFL minicamp? Bad. Showing up a week and a half early? It's fantastic, according to Jim Harbaugh, albeit against the rules.

That's what 49ers rookie receiver Quinton Patton discovered after paying for a flight from Tennessee to San Francisco International Airport on Monday and then renting a car. Patton was halfway down Highway 101 on Monday when he called the 49ers to tell them he was minutes away from joining their offseason program.

That wasn't exactly welcome news. Draft picks have a 24-hour window to visit their new team, according to the new collective bargaining agreement, but are not allowed to visit beyond that. Patton was the 49ers' first pick in the fourth round on Saturday, and if he had arrived in Santa Clara he might have forfeited his chance to take part in the team's rookie minicamp that begins next Friday.

"He calls us two days ago and he said he's here," Harbaugh said on KNBR radio Wednesday. "He's on his way. He'd just landed at the airport. He's in his rental car. He's coming over to the facility, and he can't wait to get started. And we had to go, 'Where? Which airport did you fly into? You're in a rental car driving here?' 'Yeah, coach, I'm 20 minutes away.'"

The instructions from the 49ers: Turn around immediately and go back home.

May 1, 2013
49ers move Joel Patten into Tom Gamble's former role

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Everyone take one step forward.

That is essentially what occurred in the 49ers' personnel department after Tom Gamble left for the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year. Joel Patten, previously the director of college scouting, now officially is in Gamble's former spot, director of player personnel, the team announced today. The only man above him in the personnel department is general manager Trent Baalke.

Meanwhile, Matt Malaspina is the new director of college scouting and Mike Williams becomes director of pro personnel. The team also promoted former regional scout Justin Chabot to national scout, Steve Rubio to regional scout and Josh Williams to pro personnel scout. Chabot was one of the scouts who evaluated first-round draft choice Eric Reid this year.

Patten is in his fourth year with the 49ers. In his previous position, he managed the college scouting staff and the daily operations of the department. He joined the 49ers with 14 years of NFL scouting experience and more than a decade of playing experience.

A graduate of Duke, Patten played eight seasons in the NFL and three in USFL as an offensive tackle. Having originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 1980, he played in 56 career games for the Browns (1980-82), Colts (1987-88), Chargers (1989-90) and Los Angeles Raiders (1991-92). He also played for the Washington Federals (1983-84) and the Orlando Renegades (1985) of the USFL.

-- Matt Barrows

May 1, 2013
RB D.J. Harper part of 49ers' all-ACL team

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A talented running back whose college career was marred by nasty knee injuries in back-to-back seasons? The 49ers now have three players who fit that description.

Frank Gore's and Marcus Lattimore's stories are well known. You probably haven't heard as much about Boise State running back D.J. Harper, one of the undrafted free agents the 49ers signed this week.

Harper tore his ACL in successive seasons. Unlike Gore and Lattimore, who tore ligaments in different knees, both of Harper's injuries occurred to his left knee and both occurred in the third game of the season in 2009 and 2010. He was granted a rare sixth season of eligibility at Boise State, and last season ran for 1,137 yards and scored 15 touchdowns.

GM Trent Baalke wants a stable of running backs with varied skills, and Harper (5-9, 209) fits the mold of the outside runner. He's a good receiver out of the backfield, and he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 and 4.49 seconds at Boise State's pro day in March.

Of course, ACL injuries are a theme this year for the 49ers. Three veteran players - Darius Fleming, Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams - are recovering from the injury. So are Lattimore and fellow draft pick Tank Carradine. Lattimore also tore his PCL and LCL and dislocated his kneecap.



MATTHEW 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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