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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.
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.
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.
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.
Frank Gore, of course, is the undisputed starting RB for the Niners this season. But a healthy competition is evolving for the backup spot between last year’s draft pick Glen Coffee and this year’s pick Anthony Dixon.
A lot has been said about Dixon this preseason, mostly all good. The sixth-round pick out of Mississippi State has gained praise from the Niners organization and the media alike since first stepping onto the practice field. But Coffee has been lost in the hubbub. Many forget that the third-round pick out of Alabama last season was highly-regarded by the organization right off the bat and had an outstanding preseason (of course, his regular season, 2.7 yards per carry, may be a reason why people forgot about him).
Coffee has said things have slowed for him this preseason and he’s been more comfortable with the defensive speed in the NFL, a good sign. Dixon, on the other hand, has been the exact opposite: he’s been going too fast.
“Sometimes, I’m out of control,” Dixon said. “I want to do it so bad, and I go so fast, but then I’ll be out of control.”
(For all of you who thought of this as a sexual reference, as I did, have a one-track mind and are immature…for shame)
Nevermind, apparently Coffee has decided to quit...WTFs everywhere in Niners Nation.
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.
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.
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.
With Kentwan Balmer now on the left squad, the 49ers have made a move to fill in the open spot. The team signed rookie free agent Will Tukuafu to a two-year deal.
From the official press release:
The San Francisco 49ers today announced that they have signed DT Will Tukuafu to a two-year contract.
Tukuafu (6-4, 272) joins the 49ers as a rookie free agent from the University of Oregon. He was originally signed earlier this year by the Seattle Seahawks before being released on June 22. Tukuafu totaled 131 tackles, 14.5 sacks, five fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles over the final three years of his collegiate career for the Ducks. He attended Scottsdale Community College prior to transferring to Oregon. A native of Salt Lake City, UT, Tukuafu earned the team’s Gonyea Award (most inspirational player) and Schaffeld Award (outstanding defensive lineman), as a senior.
Tukuafu will wear jersey #63.
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.
San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer missed his fourth straight day of training camp Thursday and his absence is still considered unexcused according to a report from the Associated Press.
Since the 49ers aren’t sure when Balmer will return, they are currently on the market for a replacement.
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky acknowledged the Niners are looking to bring in someone to play defensive end to fill the void left without Balmer — perhaps in time for Sunday’s exhibition opener at Indianapolis.
“Kentwan is kind of a different situation. Coach Sing deals with that,” Manusky said. “I coach the players who are here on the practice field. That’s my job. You see the job analysis and that’s what I do: Coach the guys who are out here. I don’t know what’s going on with him, but from an adjustment standpoint, we’re going to bring another lineman, a person who can play defensive end for us.”
Hopefully he returns soon.
Defensive end Kentwan Balmer has been AWOL.
Balmer had missed the past few practices with what was reported as “personal family issues," but head coach Mike Singletary requested that Balmer return to practice on Wednesday. Balmer was not present at team headquarters, and now it looks to be something more than just family issues.
Dan Brown of the Mercury News reports Balmer said he would talk with Singletary on Wednesday. However, no such meeting ever occurred.
Balmer said he plans to return to the 49ers.
"People are making a big deal about of nothing,’’ Balmer said. "I feel like the 49ers could do a better job of saying that, but it’s not my place to say.’’
Let’s see how this all turns out.
LB Scott McKillop was waived/injured on Wednesday. McKillop tore his patellar tendon and ACL last week and has to clear a 24-hour waiver period to return to the 49ers and be placed on injured reserve.
If another team claims McKillop, the 49ers will lose their top special teams tackler from last season.
Well, that didn’t take long. About a week into training camp, and rookies Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati have already officially been named starters by Coach Mike Singletary. Davis will start at right tackle (where the Niners gave up numerous sacks in ’09) while Iupati will take over as left guard.
“We have to give them the reps that they need to adjust and be ready,” Singletary said. “We have to give them all the reps that we can possibly give them in order to give them time.”
Former left guard David Baas, who would have backed up Iupati, instead will most likely move to the center position after mainstay Eric “Grizzly Adams” Heitmann broke his left fibula yesterday…provided he doesn’t continue snapping the ball into the ground during shotgun plays as reported. 2009 right tackle Adam Snyder will move to right guard…thank God.
No. 11 draft pick Anthony Davis and No. 17 pick Mike Iupati appear to already be gaining traction in the race for the starting OL spots in camp, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. When guard David Baas sustained a concussion on the first padded practice on Aug. 2, it wasn’t big news that Iupati took his place for the time being. What is big news: when Baas returned Saturday, Iupati remained with the first team while Baas practiced with the second team. Bruiser Anthony Davis, meanwhile, started taking first team reps over right tackle Adam Snyder Friday and has since seen his time with the first team increase. Davis, not surprisingly, is excited about the change.
“It means a lot,” Davis said between practices Saturday. “My goal is to get better every day. And them giving me more reps with the first team, they think I’m getting better, too, and that’s what I’m striving for.”
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.
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.
On Wednesday, Scott McKillop landed awkwardly after jumping for a ball and had to be taken off the field by a cart. The early diagnosis is left knee sprain.
McKillop joins a list of players that were not participating in the afternoon practice due to injury.
The list of injured 49ers: Chilo Rachal (dehydration), guard David Baas (concussion), center Eric Heitmann (stinger), tackle Chris Patrick (shoulder sprain) and tight end Walker (concussion).
Guard Chilo Rachal collapsed from dehydration during the afternoon practice on Tuesday. Rachal was down for about seven minutes before being carted off. He never lost consciousness and his status for Wednesday has yet to be determined.
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.
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.
Just a little self promotion, but here are some quotes from the rookies via Examiner.com.
There was a lot of excitement from the rookies as they were able to complete the signings and avoid any lost time with the team.
“I just wanted to get it done first, get in on time,” said Davis after signing his contract. Davis said that he was involved in making sure that his agent Drew Rosenhaus would get the contract signed on time. On his expectations on training camp, Davis simply said that he’s “got to get it done.”
Iupati was the last of the draft picks to sign, saying that his agent worked until 4 a.m. on the contract. The rookie guard said he waited in his hotel room until he got word from his agent that the contract was ready to be signed.
“I fully trusted them and I told them that I had to be here,” Iupati said right after signing his contract. “I’m excited. I’m very excited. Can’t wait to go back there and get back to work.”
Iupati was optimistic about his chances to become a starter, saying that he just needed to work hard and let the best man win.
Mays said he was confident in getting his contract signed in time. Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who was taken ahead of Mays was the deciding factor. Since both Mays and Clausen both have the same agent, Mays was just waiting for Clausen’s deal to be completed before his agent could work on his.
“I just wanted to be here to be part of the team, contribute to the team,” Mays said on being signed on time. “Just being here and not missing any opportunities; I’m not the that type of person.”
Bowman also spoke with the media, saying that he was confident that he would be signed in time. His focus now shifts to training camp.
“Now that I am officially part of the team, I just want to get better,” Bowman said after signing his contract. Bowman said that he was glad he wasn’t gong to miss any time and said that he benefited from the OTAs, mini-camp and the off-season workouts in Santa Clara in preparation for training camp.
“Being young, learning not to squeeze everything in one day,” Bowman said. “We have time to get out the kinks; be patient and just open anything and ready to learn.”
With the entire draft class signed, the 49ers will be free of any rookie contract holdouts this season. On Saturday, the rest of the team is scheduled to report.
- Linebacker NaVorro Bowman corrected the common misspelling of his name as Navorro. His first name is spelled with a capital “V”, unlike what was initially thought.
- Wide receiver Kyle Williams signed with the team during the OTAs and said that he had been working out in Arizona during the off-season. With VP of player personnel Trent Baalke saying that Williams would get a bulk of punt return duties during training camp, Williams said that he’s just wants to focus on what he can do to make an impact with the team.
“I have to make an impact where ever I see fit,” he said. “Whether it’s receiver, kick return, punt return, whatever they want me to do I’m going to put everything I got into it.”
- Cornerback/punt returner LeRoy Vann said that he has been here in the Bay Area working on his returning. During OTAs, he struggled with the wind on his returns. Vann said that they didn’t have such winds in Florida, but now he’s gotten used to it since practicing here.
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.
The San Francisco 49ers will open training camp in just a few short days. The rookies report to the team on Friday, the veterans on Saturday, and then practices begin after that. Initially, the team was supposed to begin practices on Monday, but Singletary has decided to open a day early with shelled practices a day before (the 1st).
It's a pivotal time for the 49ers, as they'll be looking to see if they've done enough to grow from their good play last year to get better and possibly take the NFC West this year. With the Cardinals suffering some key losses, the 49ers will look to hit the ground running and for that, they'll need to get through training camp with progress from several key additions to the team.
The teams two first round draft picks in tackle Anthony Davis and guard Mike Iupati have yet to sign contracts. Though Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea reports that Davis is expected to sign a contract Friday morning. The 49ers second and third round picks, safety Taylor Mays and linebacker Navorro Bowman respectively have also not signed deals. Bowman is said to have agreed to terms on his contract and should be signing in the morning as well, however. The rest of the team's rookies have signed.
As pertinent training camp news pours out we'll have more in this stream.
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