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October 25, 2013
49ers notes: Harbaugh's 49ers to travel the globe ... and then some

LONDON -- The 49ers are the flyaway winners when it comes to longest distanced traveled by an NFL team this season with a big chunk of their total coming on their current trip to London.

Jim Harbaugh is well aware of that distinction. When a reporter today mentioned that the 49ers will cover 30,000 miles this season, Harbaugh corrected her. "Thirty-two thousand," he said.

To be even more precise, it's 32,948 miles, which is 6,000 miles more than the second most well-traveled team, the Chargers.

"It's something that we're used to," said Harbaugh, noting that the 49ers are consistently in the Top 3 when it comes to miles travelled in the NFL. "It's that old saying -- you'll play 'em anytime, anywhere, any place."

How far is 32,948 miles? Well, the circumference of planet earth is 24,901 miles. So it's as if the 49ers rounded the globe and kept going a little farther.

Foreign soil -- The 49ers spent their final practice of the week on an artificial field at North London's Allianz Park, the home of Saracens rugby team. The team had been practicing on a grass field but it was in bad shape -- "very muddy, lot guys slipping, falling," safety Donte Whitner said -- prompting the move.

Still, Whitner said a soft practice field could prove to be a good warm up if it rains on Wembley Stadium's grass field on Sunday. "We'll deal with it," he said of possibly soggy conditions. "We'll use some of the longer cleats to screw in. A lot times ... you have to shorten up your steps, quicken your steps."

If that's the case, Whitner said the teams' receivers will have an advantage over the defensive backs, who will have to react to the offensive players' moves. Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended for the first four games this year but has 384 receiving yards in the three games since.

"You can see they're featuring him," cornerback Tarell Brown said. "He uses his body well. It's something where all of us (defensive backs) will have to be on the top of our game to cover that guy."

Et cetera -- Whitner said he was still bothered by the knee injury suffered Sunday in Nashville. But he will start Sunday's game, which is followed by a bye week. The only 49er on the active roster who did not practice Friday was rookie receiver Quinton Patton, who is recovering from a broken foot suffered Week 4.

* Harbaugh and the 49ers turned tourist after their Friday practice. Harbaugh said his goal was to visit Winston Churchill's war cabinet offices, which are under the city and which are where the former Prime Minister ran the war effort during The Blitz. "That would be a highlight of my life," Harbaugh said.

* The only player fined in Sunday's Titans-49ers game was Tennessee defender Akeem Ayers. His unnecessary roughness penalty drew a $5,750 fine. The game featured some feisty play from Brown and Titans receiver Kenny Britt. Neither was fined.

-- 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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