Beasley's days with 49ers are numbered

Fullback Fred Beasley, who has spent all eight seasons of his NFL career with the 49ers, does not figure to return to the club next year, especially after he aired some complaints about running backs coach Bishop Harris.

Beasley has clashed with Harris this season, and Beasley said he does not know why the assistant coach has tried to make life difficult for him. Last week, Beasley returned after missing three games with a neck stinger he sustained in the Nov. 13 game against the Chicago Bears. Beasley said he told Harris early in last Wednesday's practice he would be ready to play.

According to Beasley, Harris responded, "Go run around the field."

When asked if he thought Harris was disrespectful, Beasley answered, "Very." Beasley said he has not spoken with Harris since. Beasley suited up for Sunday's game against the Seahawks but did not play - and was never told why he did not play.

"I kind of expect it, especially from a guy like Bishop," Beasley said.

Coach Mike Nolan told Beasley this week that he will serve as the backup to journeyman Chris Hetherington.

Nolan did not speak about the controversy on Thursday, saying only that the matter has been handled in-house. Harris declined comment through a team spokesman. Beasley said Harris probably does not like him because as the veteran running back, he has aired some of the other players' complaints. It is unclear what kind of rapport Harris has with the other running backs.

After practice Wednesday, Harris tried to get the attention of one running back to get him into the running backs meeting room. The player looked as if he was purposely ignoring Harris' encouragement to get into the meeting room.

When asked why Beasley lost his starting job, Nolan said Hetherington has played better than Beasley. He said Beasley got off to a good start but that his performance level has dropped.

"The first three games he played all right, and outside of that, his performance dropped off a little bit," Nolan said.

Beasley agreed with that assessment. He said his drop in play coincided with the team's insistence on playing Hetherington more.

"Not to use it as excuse, but as a fullback your play is limited anyway," Beasley said. "Switching me and Chris out, it's very hard to stay in the game and keep your mojo, so to speak. There's that, and then having on-field and off-field battles with (Harris). Hey, I should've been a bigger person to handle it. (But) it came to this, and there's nothing I can do about now."

Harris joined the 49ers this season after coaching running backs with the Jets last season. He is best known for the heated sideline exchange with head coach Herman Edwards during a playoff game against the Chargers, during which fullback Jerald Sowell had to step in and separate them.

PLAYER UPDATES

--- CB Derrick Johnson will start Sunday's game after several weeks of solid play as the nickel back. Johnson is slated to take over for Bruce Thornton at right cornerback.

--- RB Kevan Barlow did not practice Thursday and remains doubtful for Sunday's game against the Jaguars due to a bone bruise on his left knee. Barlow said he initially sustained a big hit to his quadriceps Oct. 23 against the Redskins. He missed a game two weeks ago with the injury.

--- RB Frank Gore is in line to receive his first NFL start Sunday against the Jaguars. Gore has been productive when given a chance to play. He has rushed for 353 yards on 73 carries for a team-leading 4.8-yard average.

--- CB Shawntae Spencer has given the 49ers reason to believe that he can be a No. 2 corner or possibly even a No. 1 as the team moves forward. Spencer has been one of the few bright spots in the pass defense. He has three interceptions and 15 passes broken up. But Spencer sustained a quadriceps strain during practice Thursday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Jaguars.

--- CB Bruce Thornton, who has started the past nine games at right cornerback, is being replaced in the starting lineup by Johnson. But Thornton might start again this week because of Spencer's strained quadriceps.

--- RB Maurice Hicks is the No. 3 tailback, and he is likely to see some action this week with Barlow looking doubtful with a knee injury. Hicks is also the 49ers' top special teams tackler with 22 stops this season.


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