49ers 'voluntary' offseason program begins

April 16, 2012, 4:31 pm
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The 49ers' unofficial offseason program began shortly after their loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game.Coach Jim Harbaugh was pleasantly surprised to see large numbers of players flocking back to the team's facility to resume workouts before the voluntary program was set to begin today.The official "voluntary" stuff began Monday."I feel good about the way things are progressing -- excited to be back working," Harbaugh answered in late-March when CSNBayArea.com asked him how he felt about the 49ers' offseason."It's been great watching them come into the facility and see those guys working. I can't imagine there are very many facilities around the NFL with this many guys pumping iron and out there running and doing what our guys are doing."Defensive lineman Justin Smith, the 49ers' MVP last season, set the tone for the offseason, general manager Trent Baalke said in February."We're two days out from our last game and he's back at it," Baalke said. "He's already in the weight room and he's got a full lather going. And I look at him and I go, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'It's either here or babysit at home, so I'm here.'"Under rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, the official three-phase, nine-week offseason program begins Monday. The first two weeks of activities are limited to "strength and conditioning" and "physical rehabilitation." Position coaches are prohibited from observing. Quarterbacks may throw to uncovered receivers.Quarterback Alex Smith will get his first opportunity to throw to new 49ers receiver Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, both of whom are in the Bay Area. Also, receiver Michael Crabtree returned to California from his offseason home in Texas.REWIND: 49ers sign WR Randy Moss 49ers sign WR Mario Manningham
Crabtree signed a contract in 2009 that contained a so-called "diva clause," which requires full participation in all mandatory functions and 90-percent attendance in voluntary work in order to collect millions of dollars in base salary escalators. --Restricted free agent Larry Grant reported for the first day of the 49ers' offseason program to sign his tender and join his teammates, he told CSN Bay Area's Mindi Bach. Restricted free agents have through Friday to sign offer sheets with other teams, but it was clear Grant was not going to get a starting opportunity with another team. Grant returns to the 49ers on a one-year, 1.26 million contract. He serves as the backup inside linebacker to Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.RELATED: Larry Grant 2011 game logs
--With Brooks set to sign his tender, franchise player Dashon Goldson is the only 49ers player who has outside negotiating power. Goldson will not attend the beginning of the voluntary offseason program. He has yet to sign his tender, and he is working out on his own. He is set to play this season for the 49ers on a one-year, 6.2 million contract. Both sides have hopes of working out a long-term extension.REWIND: 49ers use franchise tag on Dashon Goldson
Only strength and conditioning coaches may be on the field for the first two weeks of the offseason program. Coaches are allowed on the field during the three-week Phase Two of the offseason program. Offense and defense can't be going against each other during this phase. In the final phase, consisting of four weeks, a total of 10 days of organized team activities can be conducted. Helmets may be worn for the first time, but with no other pads.

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