Haggans likely headed to 49ers to provide OLB depth

September 2, 2012, 2:55 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers tried to claim a young outside linebacker off waivers Saturday. Instead, the club is likely to acquire a 12-year veteran for the same role.The 49ers are expected Sunday to sign free agent Clark Haggans, 35, who started all 16 games last season at left outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals, a league source confirmed. Haggans' signing is pending a physical, the source said. The Sacramento Bee first reported Haggans' imminent signing.The 49ers must release a player to make room for Haggans, whom the Cardinals released on Friday. The 49ers have four tight ends, including two-way player Demarcus Dobbs, and five safeties on their 53-man roster.The 49ers kept three outside linebackers Friday when the club was required to make the cut to 53 players. Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are slated to be the starters with Parys Haralson as a backup.Haralson's status is unknown. Haralson did not play in the exhibition finale, and he did not attend practice Saturday. Coach Jim Harbaugh has indicated Haralson has an injury. When asked if he expects Haralson to be available for the 49ers' regular-season opener next Sunday in Green Bay, Harbaugh answered, "We'll see."Haralson is scheduled to make 2.45 million in base salary with an additional 200,000 in a roster bonus. There is no indication the 49ers are trying to re-work his contract as a backup player.On Saturday, the 49ers' waiver claim on former New York Jets player Jamaal Westerman was denied. The Cardinals were awarded Westerman, based on their worse record last season. Westerman, entering his fourth season, played 16 games for the Jets last year and recorded 3.5 sacks.The 49ers cut three outside linebackers on Friday, including veteran Ikaika Alama-Francis and journeyman Eric Bakhtiari, who led the team with 2.5 sacks in the exhibition season. Bakhtiari saw considerable action this summer. Most of his production, and all of his sacks, came in the second halves against backups.Haggans played his first eight NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His best season was in 2005, when he recorded nine sacks. He spent the past four seasons with Arizona, where he played in 56 games (43 starts) and collected 14 sacks. He played nearly 75 percent of the Cardinals' defensive snaps last season and also contributed on special teams.It has not been determined whether Haggans faces any league discipline stemming from a 2011 DUI incident. An NFL spokesman told CSNBayArea.com on Sunday that the matter is "under review."Haggans served time in a Pennsylvania prison in June after pleading guilty to extreme DUI.
Haggans posted a statement on Twitter through his agent, Jeff Sperbeck, that explained he rushed home from a concert in April 2011 after receiving a call from the family babysitter, who said his 5-year-old daughter was having trouble breathing. His daughter had been on medicine and inhalers since she was born because of under-developed lungs, Haggans explained.Haggans said his wife had wandered off during the concert and he could not find her. He had been drinking and his wife was going to drive home. "I needed to get home to my daughter immediately," Haggans said. "I felt that my only choice was to drive home."After being stopped for running a red light, Haggans and the officers proceeded to Haggans' house, he said. His daughter received treatment and was OK."In hindsight, I should have found another way home, and I take full responsibility for my actions," Haggans wrote in the statement.

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