Around the NFL, players are organizing workouts and doing their best to stay active during the lockout. They can't, obviously, have any contact with teams or coaches, and it's all they can do to try and prepare for a potential 2011 season on their own, as it stands now. Alex Smith of the 49ers is one of those players, he's taken part in workouts for the past couple weeks with several other players, including rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick, among others.
Now, Smith is set to lead an offensive-situated minicamp for the team, and when we say lead, we mean it. It's kind of an odd situation, as Smith is still a free agent and it seems like he's now finally embracing the role as a leader, for a team he's not technically a part of right now. Still, he is very much a leader in this minicamp, which should feature a good portion of the offense.
Other teams have organized such workouts, but the 49ers had only had smaller gatherings up until this point. Smith's reasoning for the team waiting until now to have a bigger group of players makes perfect sense: he needed time to familiarize with head coach Jim Harbaugh's playbook, which he acquired during the 2011 NFL Draft when the lockout was temporarily lifted. It's a great point from Smith, wanting to understand that playbook as well as possible before working with the rest of the offense. He used the words "help" when talking about other players, and also "teach," which would lead many to believe that he's definitely embracing the leadership role.
He's always been highly regarded as far as his intelligence is concerned, and learning a playbook is something he has, how you say, become accustomed to. The workouts are supposed to begin today (Monday), as mentioned by tight end Vernon Davis on Twitter. Davis is excited to get in there and get to work. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree may or may not be attending the minicamp, but he is in the Bay Area as it stands, so we'll see.
Frank Gore is expected to re-join the team after rehabbing an injury, as are rookies Kaepernick, Kendall Hunter, Daniel Kilgore, Mike Person and Ronald Johnson. Aside from Eric Heitmann, there should be plenty of other 49ers in attendance as well. Heitmann has reportedly not been cleared by doctors to participate, after finishing 2010 on injured reserve.