Niners notebook

The 49ers finally completed their 2005 coaching staff on Monday with the announcement that Duane Carlisle has been named the team's assistant strength and conditioning coach. Carlisle, who has worked with more than 10,000 athletes of all ages and performance levels, brings a unique dimension and advanced training methods to the team's staff.

Carlisle, considered one of the nation's leading figures in the area of athletic performance training, will work closely with 49ers strength and conditioning coach Johnny Parker to maximize the potential of San Francisco players and also get them to - and maintain them at - their strongest, fastest and healthiest levels.

Carlisle, the president and founder of Lightning Fast Training Systems, recently served as the Speed Development Consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2000-20004. He has spent the past 13 years pushing athletes of all ages to perform to their maximum potential, regardless of their sport. His methods are considered on the cutting edge of giving athletes the competitive edge they need to succeed, and several NFL players have credited him with significantly lowering their times in the 40-yard dash.

"An integral part of our strength and conditioning program is speed enhancement to improve our players," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "Duane gives us one of the premier speed coaches in the country and our players will benefit from his expertise."

Before it became trendy to do so in recent years, Carlisle became one of the first training specialists to prepare college athletes for the NFL Combine a decade ago. The list of prospects he helped groom includes eventual Pro Bowlers Priest Holmes, Matt Hasselbeck, Brian Westbrook and Jerry Azumah.

Carlisle also has helped mentor and educate more than 50 interns and 100 sports performance coaches who continue to spread his training gospel around the country.

Now the 49ers will be getting a first-hand dose of that message.

--- The 49ers have given right tackle Scott Gragg permission to seek a trade from other teams, which is a way for the club to allow Gragg to begin seeing who might want to sign him after he is released in June.

The 49ers will save almost $3 million against their salary cap by releasing Gragg in June. The signing earlier this month of unrestricted free agent tackle Jonas Jennings - who will play left tackle for the 49ers - made Gragg expendable. Kwame Harris, the 2003 first-round pick who was the team's regular left tackle last year, will move to his natural position of right tackle, forcing Gragg from the starting lineup.

Gragg has been a dependable fixture along San Francisco's line the past five seasons, starting 81 of the 82 games he has played in since joining the 49ers in 2000, including all 16 last year. But his performance began to decline noticeably last year, and he is too expensive to keep around as a backup. If he fails to get a better offer elsewhere, it's possible Gragg could be asked back with the 49ers this summer at veteran's minimum wage.

--- Free-agent receiver David Boston, released last week by the Miami Dolphins, is known to want to play for the 49ers, and the team is interested in re-uniting him with no-nonsense receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, who groomed Boston to Pro Bowl status when both were with the Arizona Cardinals and continues to give his support to the embattled receiver.

But the the 49ers have decided to hold off on signing Boston until he passes a physical and Nolan does more checking into his background.

The 49ers struggled in the passing game last season. Their offensive line and pass protection yielded 52 sacks, they got spotty play from quarterbacks Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey, and the receivers had a difficult time getting open on a consistent basis.

The club gave Jennings a $12 million signing bonus to solidify that spot, which enables Harris to his more natural right tackle spot.

The 49ers figure to take a quarterback (Aaron Rodgers or Alex Smith) or wide receiver (Braylon Edwards) in the draft to provide an upgrade at the other spots that can help the passing attack.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "My job right now is to basically dispel all the rumors that I'm an injury-prone player" - K Joe Nedney, who has played in just one game since 2003 due to knee and hamstring injuries.


1. Quarterback. Is Rattay the answer at this spot? Can he remain healthy for an entire season? Nolan said there will be competition for the starting QB job this year. The 49ers might use the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on Rodgers or Smith.

2. Defensive back. The 49ers expect CB Mike Rumph, who missed most of last season with a broken forearm, to return at full strength. They can't be too sure of CB Ahmed Plummer, who missed 10 games with a bulging disk in his neck. If the 49ers acquire a good corner, it might allow them to move Rumph to FS, where they have a need.

3. Wide receiver. The 49ers did not have any big-play threats from this position last season. Their roster is filled with mediocre NFL receivers, and they need to find somebody who can consistently get open and make plays down the field.

4. Running back. Halfback Kevan Barlow was a disappointment last season, and it remains to be seen how he reacts to a new coaching staff. Regardless, the 49ers need to find a backup halfback who can take some of the pressure off him.




UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: TE Steve Bush; WR Curtis Conway; OT Jerome Davis (not tendered as ERFA); QB Brandon Doman (not tendered as ERFA); C Brock Gutierrez; FS Ronnie Heard; FB Jasen Isom (not tendered as ERFA); DT Daleroy Stewart (not tendered as RFA); CB Jimmy Williams.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: OG Eric Heitmann; OT Kyle Kosier; LB Brandon Moore; LB Saleem Rasheed.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: DL Tony Brown; S Dwaine Carpenter; CB Ray Wells; LB Rayshun Reed.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: DT Chris Cooper; RB Terry Jackson.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: OT Jonas Jennings; PK Joe Nedney.

PLAYERS LOST: PK Todd Peterson; DE Brandon Whiting; WR Cedrick Wilson.

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