by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/20/14) The most likely scenario for 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman is a midseason return, coach Jim Harbaugh said. Harbaugh would not rule out an earlier return for Bowman, who tore his ACL and MCL in the NFC Championship Game.
“I wouldn’t count NaVorro Bowman out of anything,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a supreme athlete, a world-class athlete among world-class athletes. The way he moves, his strength, his powers of healing. I wouldn’t count him out of anything. Realistically, halfway through the season, something like that would be more realistic. But I never underestimate NaVorro Bowman.”
Chris Culliver favored to start in 2014
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/5/14) The 49ers are set at one cornerback spot in 2014, with 25-year-old Tramaine Brock returning after making five interceptions in just seven starts. Chris Culliver is the favorite to start opposite Brock, reports the Sacramento Bee.
Culliver is on track to return from the torn ACL he suffered early in training camp. Tarell Brown and Eric Wright are unrestricted free agents, Perrish Cox a restricted free agent. San Francisco is expected to ask Carlos Rogers to take a pay cut.
Report: NaVorro Bowman undergoing surgery Tuesday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/4/14) 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman is scheduled for surgery Tuesday on his left knee, reports CSNBayArea.com. Bowman tore his ACL and MCL in the NFC Championship Game. The surgery is being performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., the report said.
49ers reduced Justin Smith's snaps
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (1/29/14) 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith played 73.3 percent of the team's defensive snaps, a big drop from previous years, reports CSNBayArea.com. San Francisco's depth on the defensive line, including Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs, enabled coaches to give the 34-year-old Smith more rest.
Smith still was highly productive, getting 49 tackles, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He's signed through 2015.
Donte Whitner hopes to be back with 49ers
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (1/22/14) 49ers safety Donte Whitner, an impending free agent, said he hopes to return to the team in 2014 and that he's talked to a lot of people in the organization about coming back.
"Everybody expresses they want me back, but you know this is a business,” Whitner told the team's website. “Sometimes players don’t fit into what you want to do salary-cap wise. I’m not saying that’s the case here. Hopefully we can get something done and work something out. We’ll see.”
Whitner had five interceptions, five forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 27 pass breakups and 218 tackles in three seasons with San Francisco.
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The 49ers DST benefits from several things, mainly some talented players (Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Justin Smith and Carlos Rogers), and they were a top-10 DST in standard leagues in 2012 for the second year in a row. The 49ers had three defensive touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 38 sacks and 11 fumble recoveries, and they should remain an elite Fantasy option this year. Plan on drafting the 49ers DST as a No. 1 unit, and they should be selected with a late-round pick in all formats on Draft Day, as early as Round 12. (Updated 4/25/13)