News and SFI views

While we were away....

News: Mike Rumph arrested July 6 in Miami Beach for drunken driving.

Views: We hate to rip into Rumph this early in his career, but now is time. He's doing a lousy impression of a first-round draft choice. We can overlook his struggles in picking up the system and poor fundamentals during the spring, focusing instead on his raw potential, athleticism and the progress that will come with experience. But a DUI arrest cannot be overlooked. Not two weeks before the beginning of training camp. And not after one of his teammates faced similar charges in a well-publicized incident in May. Before letting his players go their separate ways for the remainder of their summer after the team's June minicamp, coach Steve Mariucci stressed to his players to be extra-aware to avoid such circumstances. And Rumph supposedly attended an NFL symposium for rookies recently that also lays it out for young players as far as the perils they face off the field and what is expected of them. Then Rumph fails a Breathalyzer test after being stopped by Miami Beach police at 4:20 in the morning. Inexcusable. "We were disappointed to hear the news," Niners general manager Terry Donahue said. The Niners should be, and don't think that won't be a factor while Rumph's contract continues to be negotiated this week. The guy deserves to get dollars docked from his signing bonus, which was expected to be in the $3 million range before the incident. Rumph has a reputation for high character, and big things are expected of him. Everybody makes mistakes. But Rumph needs to get his act together - and fast.

News: Niners waive Jonas Lewis on July 11.

Views: We never saw this one coming. Lewis had looked good during spring minicamps, appeared fully recovered from the groin injury that kept him out all of last year, and ostensibly had carved a niche for himself as a backup tailback, kickoff returner and special teams standout. But the Niners are so stocked at running back that Lewis became expendable, and the team was able to save $150,000 against the salary cap by dumping him. This is good news for Jamal Robertson, the NFL Europe Offensive MVP who now becomes the top candidate to take the spot that seemed reserved for Lewis on the roster. Lewis also could be re-signed later, but the team may be doing him a favor now by allowing him to catch on with another team before training camps open around the league.

News: Jeff Garcia wins NFL Quarterback Challenge.

Views: In a competition that included speed and mobility, throwing accuracy, throwing distance and reading and recognition, Garcia dusted a field that included Peyton Manning, Aaron Brooks, Tom Brady, Doug Flutie and two-time event winner Jake Plummer. Just another example that Garcia belongs among the very elite of NFL quarterbacks, and just another reason to expect even bigger and better things from the Niners' QB in 2002. Of course, this made-for-TV event actually was conducted after the Pro Bowl in February, but results weren't made public until the event aired on television last weekend.

News: Niners waive QB Gio Carmazzi with an injury settlement.

Views: The 49ers finally were able to work out the details of an injury settlement with Carmazzi's representatives and released the 2000 third-round draft pick on Tuesday. We have seen this move coming since early May, when bulging disks in Carmazzi's neck complicated his progress in returning from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. That's a lot of medical hurdles to hamper the progress of a player who got on the field for just 18 snaps of one exhibition game during his two seasons with the Niners. Carmazzi, who continues to rehab and recover slowly, says he is confident he still can play in the league someday with another team after his recovery is complete. We're not so sure. In any event, there was no room for Carmazzi in the Tim Rattay-Brandon Doman-Cade McNown battle for jobs behind starter Jeff Garcia.

News: Jeff Chandler becomes first draft pick to sign.

Views: The Niners made a commitment to fourth-round pick Chandler in the form of a three-year deal that included a $330,000 signing bonus. That bonus alone is more than the one-year, $300,000 tender signed earlier this year by incumbent kicker Jose Cortez, who never has been given a bonus by the team. Assume what you may from those numbers, but in this case, money talks.



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