Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories focused on the 49ers’ trek toward the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10). We'll have content every day, including position breakdowns, retrospectives, mock drafts, comments from general manager Trent Baalke and more. Bookmark our Road to the NFL Draft and set your DVRs for April 28 at 4:30pm, when the 49ers Draft Preview show debuts on CSN Bay Area.
SANTA CLARA – General manager Trent Baalke stated unequivocally at the NFL Scouting Combine that the 49ers would not trade running back LaMichael James.
And Baalke echoed his remarks Friday with reporters at the team's practice facility that James is not available.
The seldom-used running back would welcome a change of scenery for his third NFL season, according to a source. And James has also gone to social media to express his frustration with his role with the 49ers.
That’s just fine with Baalke, who indicated that he’s pleased that James is upset with a season in which he saw just 28 snaps from scrimmage.
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“He’s a competitor,” Baalke said. “I’d be disappointed, if he wasn’t disappointed that he wasn’t getting on the field as much as he wanted to. I’d much more concerned about that than his frustration of not playing.
“If you’re a competitor, you want to be on the field. You want the ball in your hand, if you’re a running back. For me, I’m glad that there’s some disappointment.”
Baalke said neither James nor his agent, Jeff Sperbeck, has requested a trade.
James is not taking part in the 49ers’ voluntary offseason program, which opened Monday. James stands to lose $50,000 for his failure to take part in 90 percent of the team’s offseason workouts.
Baalke said he is not alarmed by James’ absence.
“No,” Baalke said, “because he just had a young child and has a new baby at home, settling into life. Understand this, this is voluntary. This isn’t where they have to be here right now. You have to trust that the guys who aren’t here are working just has hard as the guys who are here.”