For the first time since their well-publicized and thoroughly investigated June 8 fracas, Lamar Divens and Ahmad Brooks will share the same practice field. The 49ers today removed Divens, a backup nose tackle, from the non-football injury list, clearing him to join practice.
Divens' non-football injury presumably was the two- to three-inch gash on the side of his head which, according to court records, was opened when Brooks struck him three times with a Heineken bottle. The Santa Clara District Attorney investigated the incident for more than a month, put one of its top assistant district attorney's on the case and ultimately concluded that a jury would not convict Brooks for assault and dropped the case.
The 49ers had a mandatory minicamp in mid June. Divens, 27, was absent for the first day. He arrived on the second day but did not participate. He landed on the team's practice squad last year and is one of several nose tackles on the summer roster. The others include Ian Williams, Glenn Dorsey and undrafted rookie Mike Purcell.
One of the reasons why the DA did not pursue charges against Brooks is because Divens allegedly demanded $1 million from Brooks as recompense. When Brooks refused, Divens, who had said he didn't want to press charges, changed his mind and said he wanted to pursue the case. Divens and Brooks haven't practiced together since the incident, at least not in a formal session.
Brooks may have escaped criminal charges, but the league or the 49ers still can discipline him, including with a suspension. This year, the NFL has seemed willing to allow teams to handle their own punishment. Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke both declined to discuss the case this week. Brooks was in his familiar starting role at left outside linebacker to open training camp.
-- Matt Barrows