Butterflies for linebacker Tavis LaBoy?

49ers LB Travis LaBoy hasn't played in a regular-season game since December 2008. Now he's back and will see action Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The last time Travis LaBoy set foot on a football field for a regular-season NFL game, it was December 2008 and he was wearing an Arizona Cardinals uniform.

In any profession, 21 months is a long time. In the NFL, it can be a career.

So yes, there will be some butterflies on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers linebacker steps on the grass at Qwest Field in Seattle.

"I'm sure, come game day, I'll be a little more excited about it," LaBoy said. "It kind of builds as the week goes on. The closer you get to the game, the more excited you get about playing."

With Ahmad Brooks still out because of a lacerated kidney, LaBoy will get some playing time on third downs against the Seahawks. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said he'll probably use a three-man rotation at outside linebacker with starters Parys Haralson and Manny Lawson.

"Fundamentally, I think he's getting better every week," Manusky said of LaBoy, who had two sacks in the preseason. "I think he keeps on learning. He's still got a ways to go, but I feel comfortable with him being in there on first and second down."

LaBoy had 23½ sacks in five seasons with Tennessee and Arizona before a foot injury forced him to sit out the 2009 season. The 49ers signed him last April.

Brooks said he expects to resume practicing next week, but LaBoy said he doesn't worry how that might cut into his practice and playing time.

"Until someone tells me something, I don't worry about it," he said. "I do what I'm told. I just work here."

NOTES: Coach Mike Singletary, who said previously he prefers Ted Ginn Jr. to return kickoffs only, said Friday that Ginn will also return punts on Sunday. Don't write that in stone, however. Singletary might change his mind and give the job to Phillip Adams. … Singletary also announced his inactive players. The list includes injured players Eric Heitmann (fibula), Ahmad Brooks (kidney), Will James (ankle) and Diyral Briggs (concussion). Also inactive: offensive linemen Barry Sims and Alex Boone and cornerback Tramaine Brock. Troy Smith will probably be the third quarterback.


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