Maiocco: Baas' long flight shows commitment

Maiocco: Baas' long flight shows commitment
June 10, 2011, 8:28 pm
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June 10, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comThe 49ers targeted center David Baas for a contract extension during the season. The sides were not able to work out a new deal before the lockout.Of the 49ers' players assured of being unrestricted free agents when the lockout is lifted, Baas ranks No. 1 on the list of importance -- after the rubber-stamp signing of quarterback Alex Smith, of course.
Baas began training camp a year ago in the no-win situation of competing against rookie Mike Iupati at left guard. When Eric Heitmann was sidelined for several weeks with a broken leg after already sustaining a neck injury, Baas moved seamlessly into the starting job at center.Baas started all 16 games and clearly had his best NFL season. He figures prominently into the 49ers' plan for 2011, too.RELATED: David Baas profile
Heitmann still has not been cleared to resume playing football, casting serious doubt on his future. The 49ers drafted two collegiate tackles to convert to center. So the 49ers do not have any other legitimate options at center.Baas showed a huge level of commitment this week when he made a one-day appearance at Camp Alex to join 20 of his offensive teammates. Baas flew cross country from Florida on short notice to take part in the introduction to the new 49ers playbook."It was just one day, but it was good to be around the guys and get my brain working again," said Baas, who was scheduled to return home Saturday morning. "I think it was a really good choice."Baas saw the new playbook for the first time on Thursday. When the players moved to the field, Baas said he made only one mistake in which he barked out last year's terminology to make a line call.There is little question that Baas, a second-round draft pick in 2005, wishes to return to the 49ers for at least another season. He said he expressed as much to coach Jim Harbaugh before the lockout."Even just talking to Harbaugh for an hour, I'm really excited. And I hope that I'm back here," he said."Before I left, I told them that I really want to be here. But we just got to wait to see how it plays out. I'm going to prepare myself like I'm going to be back. That's all I can do right now."

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