49ers notebook: Travails and travels in labor dispute

July 22, 2011, 3:38 pm
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com

In late-April, 49ers wide receiver Josh Morgan had just arrived in Washington to visit family when he got an urgent phone call."It was Coach," Morgan said. "He called, telling me to be back out here at 8 in the morning."The lockout was over. And with that call from 49ers receivers coach John Morton, the team arranged for Morgan to get on a one-way flight across the country, back to the Bay Area. Morgan paid for the ticket, by the way.Morgan got back to Santa Clara and picked up a copy of the 49ers' new playbook. Then, a few hours later a federal appeals court granted a temporary stay of a lower court's order that had ruled NFL owners could not lock out their players.So the lockout was back on. And that's when Morgan said he stopped worrying about the league's labor situation."I just gave up," Morgan said. "Call me when it's over. I'll stay in shape and learn the playbook."Of course, that call still has not come for players to return to work. The NFL's owners on Thursday announced that they have approved a proposal that would settle the league's labor dispute.NEWS: NFL owners approve CBA, give players until Tuesday
Now, the next move belongs to the players."Player leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification," said NFL Players Association president Kevin Mawae in a statement Friday.He added that the NFLPA would make no further statement Friday out of respect for the Kraft family. Memorial services were held Friday for Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.RELATED: NFLPA goes quiet Friday in respect of Kraft family
Morgan, a regular attendee at the 49ers' get-togethers at San Jose State, said he has a good knowledge of the receivers' responsibilities -- but not much else -- from the new playbook."I know everything I'm supposed to know," Morgan said. "I'm not at the point where I know everything, but I'm getting there. . . . I used to know everything. I used to know what Frank (Gore) had to do, the linemen, and what Alex (Smith) had to do, and Vernon (Davis). Now, I just know what all the receivers do." Rookie outside linebacker Aldon Smith, chosen with the No. 7 overall pick, has moved to the Bay Area and has gotten acclimated to his new home. His first professional football requirement will be to get acclimated to playing a new position.He said the full-time conversion from defensive end to outside linebacker is tops among the many new things with which he must become comfortable."Just playing standing up and playing at a different level," Smith answered when asked what his biggest adjustment would be. "I think it's going to be a big transition for everybody because it's a new coaching staff and a new system, so everybody's starting from scratch. That's one thing that makes it a little bit easier. We're all learning together."Smith said he expects to play this season between 260 and 265 pounds. He currently weighs 266. "I'll lose weight in camp, so I'd rather go into camp heavy and lose it than go in light and lose some more," he said.
There is no doubt 49ers rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick has an NFL arm. And the receivers who catch passes from him are getting a good workout, too."It's really a test for your hand-eye coordination and reactions," Morgan said. "Not every throw is going to be perfect. There might be a 5-yard slant where the ball is behind you, and that makes you be a wide receiver -- makes you test everything. With a normal arm and normal velocity, it's easy to adjust."Morgan compares Kaepernick's arm strength to Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick's. Morgan said he last caught passes from Vick on April 24, when a bunch of former Virginia Tech players gathered for the Hokies' annual spring game.

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