In the end, an injured end for Owens

On second thought, a second-round draft pick for Terrell Owens turned out to be too good to be true. But Brandon Whiting is the real thing. In another twisting turn of events regarding the Owens saga, the 49ers received the seventh-year defensive end from Philadelphia in a Tuesday trade that gives Owens his wish to join the Eagles. The questions now are: Is Whiting damaged goods? And will he help the team as much as the second-rounder the Niners thought they were getting from Baltimore?

The Niners apparently think so.

"We are very fortunate to have Brandon," coach Dennis Erickson said. "This really solidifies our defensive end position. He has the capabilities to play inside and outside. He gives us a physical presence at defensive end."

At 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, Whiting immediately gives the Niners they kind of beef they haven't had for years at defensive end, and his arrival apparently means San Francisco won't be attempting to re-sign Chidi Ahanotu later this year, since Whiting also can slide inside and play tackle in passing nickel situations.

Whiting, a fourth-round pick in 1998, started the past four seasons for the Eagles and has 16.5 career sacks. He'll be returning to the area he was born and, later, played in during college.

"We're excited about Brandon Whiting joining the 49ers," general manager Terry Donahue said. "He is a physical defensive end who brings experience and versatility to our defensive line. When he's healthy, he will immediately make an impact on our defense."

When he's healthy. Whiting isn't. He has a torn labrum in his left shoulder, a condition he played with all last season. Whiting played well last year, starting 14 games for the Eagles, but his injury is a condition that needs to be corrected. Surgery is possible, but Whiting was uncertain about that prospect after learning of the trade on Tuesday.

"I am unsure of where it is now, (but) we have a physical coming up and we will see," he said. "(Surgery) is always a consideration. You always want to be 100 percent every time you get on the field so that you can help a team out the most you can. It is tough to go out and play when you know that you are not 100 percent. You don't want to hurt the team. I am up for anything that will get me back to 100 percent."

Whiting went on to say, "I have not spoken to the 49ers about this. I know that I have a physical coming up. I am not sure the exact date that the physical will take place but I know that it is coming up soon. I figure that things will take care of themselves then. I have discussed (surgery) with the Eagles doctors. It was something that we decided at the time that we caught it too late and it would put me into the season. So we decided against at the time. It was hard at points to get through it during the season, but it is what it is now and I will be able to talk to the 49ers doctors and we will figure something out."

The good news is the Owens ordeal finally appears to be over, and the Niners got something instead of nothing for the volatile receiver. Whiting is the something, and the Niners can only hope he'll end up being a little more than that.

Niners Digest Top Stories