News and SFI views

A busy Friday: Jamal Robertson's scary injury, Josh Shaw in and Menson Holloway out, Masafumi Kawaguchi introduced, Anthony Parker placed on IR, competition getting fierce at kicker.

News: Jamal Robertson goes down in practice, and stays there face-down and motionless on the ground for almost 10 minutes before being strapped to a backboard, lifted onto a gurney and taken off the field in an ambulance.

Views: It was the kind of incident everybody dreads in football, but preliminary reports are that Robertson's injury - diagnosed as a lower back strain - is not serious after X-rays and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging exam both were negative. Robertson was released Friday afternoon from St. Joseph's Medical Center, the team will monitor his condition and he could return to practice as soon as next week. It's a bad break for Robertson, the 2002 NFL Europe Offensive MVP who was making an impression in camp with his football instincts and quickness. If healthy, he has a legitimate chance to make the team if the Niners keep six running backs, as they did last year. "Hopefully, he's going to be OK and, hopefully, he'll be back in short order," Niners general manager Terry Donahue said.

News: Josh Shaw signs a four-year contract for $1,446,500 with an $86,500 signing bonus and joins the team Friday afternoon.

Views: Shaw became the last of the team's 10-player 2002 draft class to sign and get in camp. But he and the team were in no hurry for the latter, since Shaw still isn't ready for unrestricted practice yet due to his major knee surgeries earlier this year. We've yet to see Shaw do anything besides some conditioning on the side, but he looks like a player, and the team is high on him, as evidenced by the respectable contract he received for a fifth-round draft pick in his situation. Donahue said Shaw is about 80 percent recovered and is "going to start working with trainers and rehabbing to get himself ready at some future date." Don't expect that date to be until well into the season. More than likely, that date will come in 2003.

Views: Defensive end Menson Holloway waived.

News: The Niners waited about as long as they could for this 2001 sixth-round draft choice who never produced. He simply did not have either the power or speed to get off the edge and didn't fit into the team's plans. Holloway was on the physically unable to perform list with toe problems, and Donahue said his chances to make the team were vanishing while he remained off the field. Donahue also said the team might consider bringing Holloway back for a tryout when he is healthy. Don't expect to see that happen.

News: Niners introduce linebacker Masafumi Kawaguchi, a six-year veteran of NFL Europe who has been allocated to the team as its Japanese representative for the Aug. 3 American Bowl game against the Washington Redskins in Japan.

Views: Kawaguchi is signed to a 10-day contract that allows him to participate in practice sessions and the exhibition game. There's a problem here, or at least a contradiction in intentions. The 29-year-old Kawaguchi - who was named All-NFL Europe in 1999 - is serious about this playing opportunity while the Niners are just going along with it because they have to. Sure, coach Steve Mariucci said Kawaguchi is a respectable veteran pro and that he plans to give the linebacker playing time on both special teams and at linebacker against the Redskins. But Kawaguchi said Friday, "I've been playing better than some of those NFL-allocated players in the (NFL Europe) league. So I'm always dreaming about playing for a (NFL) team. Right now, my goal is to show what I can do and come back to the (Niners) camp after this game if there's a chance." Uh, sorry to break the news to you early Masa, but there is no chance of that happening.

News: Cornerback Anthony Parker placed on injured reserve after undergoing surgery Thursday to repair a torn left quadriceps.

Views: Very sad. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy who was entering a crucial training camp in his career, where he probably was going to get his final chance to show the Niners what he could do. The positive news for Parker is that he'll pick up a nice 2002 salary that wouldn't be coming his way if he didn't make the team.

News: Kickers Jose Cortez and Jeff Chandler both go 5-for-5 on field goals in team drills Friday morning, each making good on attempts from 37, 42, 47, 52 and 57 yards.

Views: Cortez's booming 57-yarder easily would have been good from 70 yards. He is looking tremendous in camp, but now Chandler is beginning to catch up. This competition is going down to the wire.


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