Hungry Bowman ready to have fun in 49ers' new defense

Hungry Bowman ready to have fun in 49ers' new defense

SANTA CLARA – Linebacker NaVorro Bowman expressed to his teammates on Monday, the first day of the 49ers’ offseason program, that he is especially eager for his eighth NFL season.

Bowman, who sustained a season-ending torn Achilles tendon on Oct. 2, took part in the running conditioning test. He said he felt good -- and the regular season is still five months away.

“I mentioned to the guys today, I’m hungry,” said Bowman, a four-time first-team All-Pro. “I’ve been out of the game since Week 4. So any accomplishments I’ve had before, none of that matters.

“I’m back to proving myself and getting back to that level and guys were saying, ‘What are you on? How are you moving like this so early?’ I’ve put the work in, and I think God will bless me with a great season this year.”

Bowman said he hopes to be cleared to participate in the 49ers’ three-day pre-draft minicamp, which begins on April 25.

“In the last month, we started to ramp it up and doing a little more things, jumping around,” Bowman said of his rehabilitation. “The process has been great. There have been no setbacks. Just looking forward to getting back out there and showing what I have.”

Bowman said he is looking forward to playing in defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s 4-3 scheme, which is patterned after the Seattle Seahawks. Bowman said his coaches have already told him that they will tailor the defense toward him.

“Coaches understand what I can do and they’re kind of making it likable for me,” Bowman said. “That’s always exciting, knowing that I’m going to be play my best and have a great scheme to play in.

“It’s always good to go less. It was two gaps for seven years. This is my eighth year now, going to one gap and being able to check that off and go wherever the ball is, is a great thing. The coaches have done a great job of expressing I’m going to have a lot of fun in this defense.”

49ers safety Reid endorses LSU safety Adams: 'We'd have to battle it out'

49ers safety Reid endorses LSU safety Adams: 'We'd have to battle it out'

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers already have three safeties selected within the top two rounds of the draft.

But as the organization has considered its options with the No. 2 overall pick, LSU safety Jamal Adams had been in the discussion. Adams recently visited the 49ers, where he and Eric Reid had a chance to catch up with each other.

Reid’s final season at LSU was 2013. The 49ers traded up to select him with the No. 18 overall pick. The 49ers drafted Jimmie Ward at the end of the first round in 2014, and Jaquiski Tartt was a second-round pick in 2015.

In the past 25 years, only two safeties -- Eric Berry (2010) and Sean Taylor (2004) – have been selected in the top five. Both were chosen with the No. 5 overall selection. Adams has a chance to go as early as No. 2 overall.

“I’m excited to see where he ends up. He could end up here. You know what I’m saying?” Reid said on Wednesday at the 49ers’ voluntary minicamp.

“He’s the best one in the draft. Someone will be very happy to have him, I’m sure.”

Adams (5 foot 11 ¾, 214 pounds) is considered more of a box safety. He recorded five interceptions in his 36-game college career, but Reid said he believes Adams can also play free safety.

“No doubt,” Reid said. “The kid can do it all. That’s why they got him projected to go where he is. I believe he could.”

In the 49ers’ new defense, which is based on Seattle’s scheme, Ward is getting a long look at free safety in the team’s minicamp. Ward started at cornerback last season.

After recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid has one interception over the past two seasons. He played 10 games last season before sustaining a season-ending with a torn biceps.

Reid said he is learning a new position but he believes playing closer to the line of scrimmage suits him. He is set to become a free agent at the end of the season as he plays this year with a salary of $5.676 million on the fifth-year option.

“I’m used to being on the back end,” Reid said. “I’m used to dealing with a lot more space. So, really, it’s the run game. And the run fits, knowing the gap schemes, the run (stunts) and knowing where the D-linemen are going to fit and filling the holes. That’s been the biggest difference for me.

“I like it. I’m a bigger safety in this league, so I think it’ll work for me.”

And what if the 49ers select Adams on Thursday evening?

”That’ll be interesting,” Reid said. “We’d have to battle it out. We’ll see how it goes.”

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

SANTA CLARA – Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem last season, will not continue the protest this season.

Reid said Wednesday they achieved their goal of bringing attention to racial inequality in the United States.

“When we started doing that, our goal was to open up the floor to conversation. I believe we’ve achieved that goal,” Reid said. “So now we just want to move forward and just partner with people that’s trying to make a change.

“We accomplished that goal. People talked about it. I think we raised a lot of awareness about issues in this country. And now it’s time to move on to just affecting change.”

Reid and Harold are back with the 49ers, while Kaepernick remains a free agent. The 49ers have expressed no interest in retaining Kaepernick after opting to sign free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, instead.

“I stay in touch with him,” Reid said of Kaepernick. “I’m rooting for him. Obviously, he isn’t on a team, yet, but I’m rooting for him but hopefully he gets that call after the draft.

“It’s surprising. You see some of the other quarterbacks that have been signed around the league and why he hasn’t been, it’s just unfortunate.”

When asked if thought Kaepernick was paying the price for his protest, Reid answered, “I think so. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. People want to shy away from him because of media, PR reasons.

“You’re doing something to better the world. I mean, the guy got a plane sent to Somalia to help with the famine there. He’s been doing things that if it were anybody else in a different situation without the anthem (protest), they’d be praising him and giving him awards for it.”