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Running back/return specialist LaMichael James, who did not attend the first four weeks of the 49ers’ nine-week offseason program, reported for the team's voluntary workouts in Santa Clara this week, sources confirmed.
James will forfeit his $50,000 workout bonus due to his extended absence. He took part in the final week of “football school” this week, as first reported by the Sacramento Bee.
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The 49ers begin organized team activities next week.
James’ status with the 49ers for the 2014 season is in question with a crowded backfield that includes Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore and second-round draft pick Carlos Hyde.
In addition, the 49ers selected wide receiver Bruce Ellington in the fourth round of the draft. Ellington could challenge James for return duties.
The 49ers have downplayed James’ absence. Both coach Jim Harbuagh and general manager Trent Baalke explained that James became the father of a baby boy this offseason.
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James has expressed discontent over his lack of a role on offense via social media. A source close to James suggested he would be fine with a change of scenery.
“I would be disappointed if he wasn’t disappointed in that he wasn’t getting on the field as much as he wanted to,” Baalke said before the draft. “I’d be much more concerned about that than his frustration of not playing. As a competitor, you want to be on the field, you want the ball in your hand if you’re a running back. I’m glad there’s some disappointment.”