Top pick ready for business

With a playbook almost three inches thick resting before him, Kwame Harris declared Monday that he is ready to play football. And, after signing a seven-year deal with the 49ers in the morning that makes him a wealthy man, that's exactly what the offensive tackle from Stanford – the Niners' first-round draft pick – was doing by Monday afternoon.

Harris took the field with the 49ers for the afternoon practice after the Niners announced the signing of their top 2003 choice following Monday's camp-opening morning practice. Harris became the last of the team's seven draft picks to sign this week.

"You get the itch," said Harris, who missed San Francisco's final three spring minicamps because of an NFL rule that prevents college players from practicing while their school still is session. "I'm excited about playing football. I realize I have some business to take care of. I'm here to play football and I'm ready to do it."

According to his agent, Leigh Steinberg, Harris signed a seven-year deal worth $8.931 million with a $3.6 million signing bonus. Steinberg said Harris – due to incentives and escalators written into his contract – could earn as much as $12.5 million over the life of the deal. The contract also can be voided after five years.

Harris was the No. 26 overall pick in this year's draft. Steinberg said Harris' deal represents a 19 percent increase over what the No. 26 pick in the 2002 draft received.

Coach Dennis Erickson was pleased to have his top pick in camp after missing just one practice. Harris will be worked in immediately at left tackle, where incumbent starter Derrick Deese is missing the start of training camp after undergoing ankle surgery.

"He's the future here at left tackle," Erickson said. "I'm really glad he's not missing out on a lot of practice. It was very important to get on the field. He knew it. Everybody knew it."

Niners Digest Top Stories