Niners sign three as final May minicamp begins

The 49ers came together as one on Wednesday for the first time in May, but they seldom practiced that way to begin a three-day, full-squad minicamp. The Niners call this their "passing camp," and its focus is situational drills that may arise by unit in the passing game. Meanwhile, the team announced the signing of three young players and also had four players in for tryouts.

Three of the latter were in the right camp for a tryout - Corey Brown, Matt Holmlund and Giovanni Tocagina all play receiver. The Niners also worked out an established free agent, veteran defensive tackle Jim Flanigan.

Three players who had tryouts during last week's minicamp for rookies and selected veterans were officially signed to contracts. Second-year linebacker T.J. Turner, who agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the team last week, joined rookie wide receiver Mike Jennings and cornerback Kenny Harris as the newest members of San Francisco's roster.

Turner, New England's seventh-round draft pick in 2001, is expected to seriously challenge for a roster berth as a special teams contributor and final backup at middle LB, where his impressive size (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) should come in handy.

Jennings (5-11, 170) was impressive last week, showing good quickness and acceleration while running crisp routes. Harris (5-10, 189) gives the team another cornerback to add to the mix with seventh-round pick Teddy Gaines ailing. Neither player, however, has as good a shot as Turner to make the team's final roster, and both are likely training-camp fodder.

While the label on this week's camp would suggest the Niners are airing it out, they actually are focusing more on individual unit instruction during 90-minute daily practice sessions.

"There's special emphasis on two-minute drills and different things that we need to prepare for, different situational-type things that occur in the passing game," Niners coach Steve Mariucci said. "Linemen and the little guys are on different schedules right now. But the linemen do come out halfway through practice and join us to finish the practice. It's very productive the way we're doing it this week."

This camp, which continues through Friday, is to lay the groundwork for next week's final big team bash of the spring, a four-day, full-squad minicamp in which the Niners will be together as a team and practice together for the final time before training camp begins in Stockton on July 20.

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