Scenes from a minicamp: Day 1

The rain came, but J.J. Stokes didn't. Terrell Owens ran a few routes, but missed practice due to a lingering groin problem. Jamie Winborn is on the way back from a troublesome knee injury, and Dennis Erickson looked comfortably in place during his first day back at practice coaching an NFL team. Those were some of the scenes and things to be seen to go along with these notes and quotes Friday from the opening afternoon of the 49ers' three-day minicamp at the team's Santa Clara headquarters.

--- A heavy downpour drenched the field and the media as the first of two Friday practice sessions came to an end early in the afternoon. But Erickson was all smiles. "It's great," the coach said. "The weather cooperated. It was like being back at Oregon. I really thank everybody for that. I didn't lose a step at all." Erickson is accustomed to practicing - and coaching - in the rain. He coached the past four seasons at Oregon State and was head coach of the Seattle Seahawks from 1995-98.

--- Erickson received an endorsement from 12th-year tackle Derrick Deese, the senior member of the 49ers roster who met Erickson for the first time last week. "Obviously, he just wants to win championships, and that's why everybody's here," Deese told SFI. "Did we win a championship with Mooch? No. We were competing for one, yeah. Erickson's here to win championships. He'll tell you that himself. That's the bottom line. Will it be fun to be coached under him? I think so. Will you learn some more about football? He's brought in a great coaching staff. I'm excited about it, to be honest with you."

--- In the latest strong indication that he will not be a 49er when the team begins training camp on July 25, ninth-year veteran Stokes was not with the team for the opening of mini-camp. The Niners already have given Stokes permission to seek a trade, and he likely will be released after June 1 if he isn't traded. There was no reason for Stokes to come to camp after the Niners drafted receivers in the fourth and sixth rounds last weekend, further signifying he no longer is in their plans.

--- But veterans Tai Streets and Cedrick Wilson definitely are in the plans. With Owens resting his sore groin, Streets and Wilson shined during practice, running crisp routes and snagging everything in sight. "Tai is an impressive player, route runner, he catches the football," Erickson said. "He is very impressive to me. He jumped out at me. So did Cedrick Wilson. It's going to be interesting to see where we're at, but the two that really stood out were Tai and Cedrick."

--- Not to mention rookie Brandon Lloyd, the team's fourth-round pick. Lloyd looked fluid and polished as he ran routes with precision and got open for receptions. After one day, at least, he is looking like a fourth-round steal. "Brandon Lloyd had some moments out there," Erickson said.

--- Winborn, who missed the final 15 games last season with damage in his left knee, was showing off his speed and instincts, looking to be almost back to the player he was before he was injured last September, even though he supposedly is not yet back to full strength. But he certainly is healthy enough to get back on the field. "We couldn't keep him out," Erickson said. "The adrenaline starts running. These (injured)guys are going to hurt and then all of a sudden they're out there. You can tell when Jamie is out there because he is so fast. (Doctors) told him he could do what he felt he could do and, like I said, when you get out here and the adrenaline is running, it's amazing what you can get done."

--- Count quarterback Jeff Garcia among those who is pleased the 49ers used their first-round draft pick to select Stanford offensive tackle Kwame Harris. "I think he's going to be a great addition. I think he's going to learn a lot from Derrick Deese and just be more ready to play down the road. We're strengthening our offensive line and that's a positive thing."

--- Garcia and backup Tim Rattay took most of the repetitions in team drills, but Brandon Doman and Cade McNown also are getting some snaps at quarterback. McNown continued to flutter some passes, though he says he has made significant strides in his recovery from shoulder surgery and is ready to compete for a backup job this summer. Seventh-round pick Ken Dorsey looked impressive in individual drills but was held out of team drills. "We kind of had him sit back and watch. We'll get him more involved as each mini-camp goes on, as he sits back and looks and sees what goes on," Erickson said.

--- Even with the afternoon practice conducted in a steady downpour, Erickson came away pleased after his first look at his new team. The Niners hit the ground - albeit the soggy ground - running in their first full-squad session of 2003. "There was a lot of enthusiasm," he said. "It's very impressive. We should have enthusiasm in the first minicamp. We talk about practicing hard and trying to get what you can out of practice. Particularly, the veterans know how to practice. Go full speed, stay up and you're able to get some things done out of it. I was really impressed with that."

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