Niners notebook

Quarterback Tim Rattay is throwing passes again, Ken Dorsey is at the ready and former 49ers great R.C. Owens is recovering from a kidney transplant. This and other 49ers personnel notes with the start of training camp less than three weeks away.

Although Tim Rattay has been anointed the role as the starting quarterback, most believe this season the 49ers will see enough of Ken Dorsey to make a determination of what the future holds for the organization at that position.

Both players are in the midst of critical time to get them ready for the upcoming season.

Rattay sustained a torn adductor tendon in his upper left groin area on May 7 in his first minicamp practice and underwent surgery four days later. He recently started throwing again. Rattay has performed some short throws on the practice field to the equipment staff or anyone else who will catch his passes.

Rattay is on schedule to be cleared early in training camp, which opens July 30. The 49ers are hopeful that Rattay will be ready to play in at least two exhibition games. Last season, he attempted 118 passes in place of Jeff Garcia, completing 61.9 percent of his throws, with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.

Dorsey might be the future for the team at quarterback. He was a seventh-round draft pick a year ago but impressed team management with how quickly he picked up the team's complex offense. He was the inactive No. 3 quarterback all of last season, but he enters training camp as the undisputed backup to Rattay.

"Dorsey lives downstairs," said one 49ers staffer.

Dorsey has put in countless hours this offseason at the team's Santa Clara, Calif., facility. He typically arrives at the team's training complex at 7:45 a.m., then runs and works out in the weight room for the next several hours. Then, he'll go out on the practice field to throw and work on his footwork for the next 60 to 90 minutes. Afterward, he watches some film, eats lunch and watches more film.

Dorsey was known for his exemplary work habits during his days at the University of Miami, where he compiled a 38-2 record as a starter. He is putting himself in position to take advantage of any opportunity that might present itself with the 49ers, too.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES

--- Linebacker Derek Smith recorded 100 tackles or more for the seventh straight season. In '03, he finished with 179 tackles, a career-high and team record. Ken Norton Jr. previously held the 49ers record with 155 tackles in 1996. Through the team's minicamps, Smith primarily played strong-side linebacker, the position typically manned by holdout Julian Peterson.

--- Former 49ers great R.C. Owens received a kidney transplant on July 4 after an eight-year wait. Owens was called for the transplant once before but it happened at the time of his mother's death, so he declined the surgery. This time, he received the call at 6 a.m., was at the hospital by 10 a.m. and the surgery took place at 5 p.m. He is now recovering satisfactorily after the surgery and will no longer have to deal with the dialysis treatment he has undergone three times a week for the past eight years.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We feel like we've grown as a team. The worst thing that has happened to us is Tim Rattay getting hurt. But it could also be one of the real blessings that has happened to us. There's no question in my mind that the two quarterbacks, Ken Dorsey and Brandon Doman, have both really had a chance to practice and be coached and grow." -- 49ers general manager Terry Donahue on the team's offseason.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: LB Julian Peterson (exclusive; tendered at $6.073 million).

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): DE Chidi Ahanotu; LB Cornelius Anthony; CB Rashad Holman; S John Keith.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: RB Kevan Barlow; DE John Engelberger; C Brock Gutierrez; S Ronnie Heard; LS Brian Jennings; TE Eric Johnson; LB Brandon Moore; PK Todd Peterson; CB Ahmed Plummer; RB Jamal Robertson; CB Jimmy Williams; WR Cedrick Wilson.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: WR Curtis Conway; OG Scott Rehberg; DL Brandon Whiting.

PLAYERS LOST: S Zack Bronson; OT Derrick Deese; QB Jeff Garcia; RB Garrison Hearst; DT Travis Kirschke; P Bill LaFleur; DE Sean Moran; WR Terrell Owens; OG Ron Stone; WR Tai Streets; TE Jed Weaver; CB Jason Webster.

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED: S Keith Lewis.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.


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