Deese in a day

Derrick Deese, entering his 12th season with the 49ers as the longest-tenured member of the team, returned to practice Saturday after missing just one day of training camp with an ankle injury that was expected to keep him out longer. With first-round pick Kwame Harris around, Deese obviously had a reason to get back in uniform as soon as possible.

Deese, who underwent surgery on his left ankle in early June, was a spectator during Monday's opening session and was expected to spend most of the first week of camp in that position.

But there he was Saturday, back moving around in the left tackle position in which he has not allowed a sack during the past 23 games.

The Niners held Deese out of team drills, but it doesn't look like it will be long before he assumes his position with the first team. And the sooner the better, considering the promising Harris is lurking in the wings.

"I'm taking it slow and not rushing it so I don't end up having to play the season with a bad ankle," said Deese, who finished last season playing with a bad ankle. "Now, I just have to make sure my ankle's 100 percent, and I'll be ready to go."

Deese, one of the most thoughtful and articulate 49ers, already was ready to go on a variety of subjects in his first summer conversation with reporters.

Here are some of his comments on a various selection of topics:

On always having to battle to keep his starting position, and the expectations of others that somebody will take it away from him: "Probably every year, especially since I moved to tackle. So it's always somebody they brought in, or they're looking at, or they're thinking about drafting, and that's fine. I don't have a problem with that."

On grooming Harris to be his eventual successsor: "My job is going to be to play and help Kwame with whatever I can, so he can take over that spot eventually. I don't have a problem doing that. It's not something I look back on and say I'm going to be a bitter person about it. No. He's going to play eventually. And I won't. But right now, I'm still looking to play and that's how I go out there."

On the Niners bringing in players to replace him: "It just becomes a motivating factor and you get yourself in shape year in and year out. You keep increasing and doing things that people thought you couldn't do. Whatever your weaknesses are, you work on them a lot harder. And whatever your strengths are, you try to keep them up there. And that's exactly what I've done year in and year out, and I don't really worry about what too many critics have to say about me."

On Harris' presence providing extra motivation: "No, not all. As far as I'm concerned, Kwame has a little bit of a ways to go. I think he knows that. At the same time, we need him to be able to play if somebody gets hurt. I think he knows that."

On if he's playing year-to-year at this point in his career: "Without a doubt, I've probably thought that year-in and year-out thing more than anyone. I don't know when your day comes here, but obviously, you've been here long enough to see the guys who have come in and left this team. Eventually, it happens to everyone."


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