Report: 49ers Sign Former All-Pro RB Brian Westbrook

Rookies and veterans alike are reporting to training camp for the 49ers. For more on the team, go to Niners Nation.

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49ers Sign Running Back Brian Westbrook

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee is reporting that the team agreed to terms with Brian Westbrook on a one-year contract. Financial terms were not immediately available. The signing comes when the team's primary backup, Glen Coffee, retired suddenly after only one season in the NFL last Friday.

On Sunday, rookie sixth round pick Anthony Dixon had a strong game, going 100 yards on twenty-one carries and getting another twenty-two yards in three receptions as a backup to Michael Robinson, with starter Frank Gore sitting out the game. It was an impressive performance, but coach Singletary was hesitant to offer up too much praise, saying that he still had a lot of work to do, which he surely does.

Westbrook will be the primary backup and will probably get looks on offense due to his versatility in the passing game as Alex Smith needs all of the reliable targets he can get to succeed in 2010. One has to wonder if Westbrook signing with the 49ers after being reportedly close to a deal with the Rams and Redskins has something to do with the Niners having a better shot of winning and getting to the playoffs. Probably so.

It's a low risk/high reward pickup, probably for a lower-end dollar amount. The team will have a press conference at 5 p.m. Monday.


Kentwan Balmer Traded From San Francisco To Seattle

Balmer never had a clear role with the Niners and it looks like the team decided to move him before he arrived at camp.

Last Monday, Balmer left the 49ers after meeting with 49ers coach Mike Singletary. Though the team labeled his departure as personal reasons, sources indicate Balmer was having trouble figuring out his role with the coaching staff. Balmer has played in 27 games in his first two seasons with the 49ers but has never started. He was projected to be a backup defensive end in the 49ers’ 3-4 scheme.

The 49ers gave Balmer a letter indicating he had five days to show up at the team facility. Monday was the deadline, and Balmer told the team he would show up. Knowing he was coming, the 49ers spent the weekend trying to make a trade.


Glen Coffee Explains His Decision To Leave Football

Matt Barrows got a chance to talk with the recently retired Glen Coffee on his decision to leave the 49ers.

The first question I asked him was why, why step away from such a lucrative profession?
Coffee: “It was a struggle for a long time. Actually when I look back I feel I never should have entered the draft in the first place. Football was no longer my dream. I found Christ in college. It changed my views on everything. But I still was a football player because it was expected of me, it was something I did all my life. I was basically wasting the (49ers’) time.”

Read the entire transcript here.


Linebacker Scott McKillop Clears Waivers, Placed On IR

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area is reporting via Twitter that 49ers linebacker Scott McKillop made it through waivers today and now goes to injured reserve for the year. The news came a little bit late as the 49ers fans and beat writers alike collectively reeled from the news that RB Glen Coffee was retiring.

McKillop tore his ACL patellar tendon in practice, the deadline was 1:00 p.m. today and he made it through waivers without issue. The 49ers view McKillop as a valuable backup and core special teamer for the foreseeable future, and are definitely glad to keep him on board.


RB Glen Coffee Announces Retirement

Running back Glen Coffee has decided to call it quits. The running back had missed the last two team practices with no explanation.

On Friday morning, it was announced that Coffee has decided to move on from the game of football. He notified head coach Mike Singletary in the morning.

Right now, the reasons for this move have yet to be made available. Running back Glen Coffee looks to be the backup to Frank Gore now for this Sunday’s game in Indianapolis.


49ers Look To Recover Portion Of Signing Bonus From Kentwan Balmer

It seems defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer's days as a 49er are numbered. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area is reporting that the team is looking to recoup part of their $1.6MM signing bonus paid to Balmer as a rookie.

Per Maiocco:

The 49ers will seek to recoup at least $960,000 from absent defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer, a first-round draft choice in 2008, a league source told Comcast SportsNet on Thursday.

The 49ers declined comment, but have said they are following standard NFL procedure in dealing with a player who has left the team. Balmer's agent, Gary Wichard, did not respond to multiple messages.

The whole process is something that does indeed happen in the league, but it's never a good process. It's something akin to pulling teeth. It's unclear at the moment exactly what the issue is with Balmer, but he was excused for two of the days he was absent - after that though, he was expected to be around. It's not even clear if he informed anyone with the team that he'd be missing, excused or not.


Wide Receiver Dominique Zeigler Leaping Up Depth Chart

49ers wide receiver Dominique Zeigler made a leap up the depth chart in practice on Thursday. With Michael Crabtree and Brandon Jones out nursing injuries, which included a sore neck for the prior and a hamstring strain for the latter, he saw extended playing time in practice. Fellow receiver Jason Hill also was limited today, giving "Ziggy" even more time to shine.

Zeigler used his impressive jumping ability to snare several catches, a few of which were for touchdowns. There was one where he tapped his toes in the back of the endzone as well. He has a history in the long and high jump events in track, and is making a big push to make the final roster. The sky - quite literally - appears to be the limit for Zeigler at this point.

Earlier in the offseason, Zeigler was noted for his very solid route running ability when wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan used him as an example for the other receivers. When someone didn't run a route properly, they were told to watch how Zeigler did it.

Matt Maiocco had a few good quotes regarding Zeigler:

I've always gotten the impression the 49ers would love to keep Zeigler on the team. Right now, he's giving the team no other choice. (Zeigler Has Jump Out On Practice Field)

Brandon Jones and Jason Hill are out. In my mind, Dominique Zeigler has clearly been among 49ers top 4 WRs in training camp. (Twitter)

With Crabtree being day-to-day, look for Zeigler to get plenty of playing time in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.


49ers C Eric Heitmann breaks left fibula, expected to miss at least 6-8 weeks

Reports out of 49ers training camp are indicating that Eric Heitmann broke his left fibula this morning and will miss somewhere around 6-8 weeks because of the injury. The 49ers have faced a lot of injuries in training camp and this is arguably the biggest.

The 49ers will let David Baas and Tony Wragge battle it out for the right to take Heitmann’s snaps for the next two months. Wragge has played all three interior offensive line positions in the NFL. Baas has bounced between tackle and guard, and played center in college.


LB McKillop Out With Torn ACL and Patellar Tendon

According to the MRI, McKillop tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and patellar tendon in his left knee during yesterday’s practice. The second-year linebacker out of Pittsburgh landed awkwardly after jumping for a ball. He was carted off the field.

McKillop was third on the depth chart at inside linebacker behind Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes. McKillop looked to be the eventual starter next season if Spikes does not return to the team.

Veteran Matt Wilhelm and rookie NaVorro Bowman look to be the two candidates to take the vacated spot.


49ers Training Camp: A Rundown of Positional Battles

Over at Niners Nation I put together a rundown of the various training camp battles we can look forward to in the coming weeks.

The most prominent will certainly be on the offensive line, but everything from backup running back to left defensive end to the punt returner is up for grabs as training camp kicks off.


Aubrayo Franklin Not Present As 49ers Report To Training Camp

Just got back from the 49ers team headquarters and as of this post, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin has not reported.

Franklin has been trying to get a long-term deal done with the 49ers. Since the deadline has passed, Franklin has yet to sign the one-year franchise tag tender with the team.

Here’s a quick recap of today’s hapennings.

49ers hit the field tomorrow afternoon and will be in pads on Monday.


49ers Sign Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Taylor Mays, And Navorro Bowman

And just like that, the 49ers are officially ready for training camp. The rookies are reporting to camp today and team negotiator Paraag Marathe took care of business, getting the last of the team’s draft choices signed with a half hour to spare.

We’ll have plenty more on these newest 49ers in the coming days.

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