FA Guard Pitts Enjoys His Visit With 49ers

If free agent Chester Pitts, an eight-year veteran of the Houston Texans, was at all put off by the turmoil currently going on within the 49ers front office, he didn't show it on Thursday, when he had a conference call with local reporters after concluding his scheduled two day visit with the team.

"Not at all," Pitts said when the question was put to him. "Things happen. That's the business. People come, people go. It's part of the game. Based on what I'm hearing, he (former general manager Scot McCloughan) just needed some time. Everybody has things that go on in their lives. In football, there are plenty of people who will step in and fill that role. I don't expect them to miss a beat at all."

Pitts' perspective on the issue is not only the one you'd expect of a player, it's the right one to have as well. Whatever happens upstairs is out of his hands and not something for him his to worry about. Players have a very narrow window to earn their living and Pitts, especially as a free agent looking to get paid, has to worry first and foremost about making the right decision for him and his family.

A starter his entire career since being drafted out of San Diego State in 2002, Pitts got a strong endorsement from the man who the Texans picked one round ahead of him, quarterback David Carr, who of course himself joined the 49ers recently as a free agent signing.

"Chester Pitts is and outstanding Player and a great [teammate]," Carr wrote on his Twitter account, adding, "He would do nothing but make our team better."

Carr went on to clear Pitts of any blame for all the sacks he took as a Texan, Tweeting that, "Chester was never the problem in Houston, I could [write] a book about the problems, he was not one."

Pitts had been tremendously durable throughout his career, but he the odds finally caught up to him last season, where he was placed on Injured Reserve after two games with a right knee ailment. He ended up having microfracture surgery a short time later.

He indicated that he would like to sign with a club as soon as possible, if for no other reason than NFL teams have more advanced rehabilitation facilities than Pitts can find on his own and by his own estimation he's still two months away from being ready to practice.

In addition to the Niners, both the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks have expressed interest in Pitts, as well as the Texans, who'd like for him to re-sign. Obviously money will be a big factor in his decision and Houston makes a compelling case, since there's no state income tax in Texas.

Another factor though, will be which team promises him a starting spot. Pitts is only 30 years old, still in his prime, and he strongly hinted that he doesn't intend to sit on anyone's bench.

"I would expect the five best players to be on the field, whoever they are," Pitts said. "I definitely expect out of myself to be one of those five guys. But if I signed up and they felt differently at that moment in time, you roll with it and whatever your role is you do the best with it. But I definitely would expect to be a starter here."

Pitts has primarily been a left guard with the Texans, which is 49ers restricted free agent David Baas' position. Baas suffered a foot injury in training camp last year, a big reason why he struggled for the first half of the season before coming on late. Though the players voted him the teams Bobb McKittrick Award winner as the team's best offensive lineman, it was clear that the 49ers coaches and executives certainly did not feel that way about Baas, whom they tendered at only a third round level.

Pitts also made it clear that he'd be comfortable moving over to right guard, but I don't think the 49ers are quite ready to give up on Chilo Rachal just yet, though in some aspects it would make sense to have a more experienced player at that spot, since the team will, in all likelihood, be starting a rookie at right tackle next season.

Pitts was mainly courted by Mike Solari, the team's new offensive line coach, but he met today with Team President Jed York and Director of Player Personnel Tom Gamble as well. The guard was his usual cheerful and upbeat self with the media, explaining to the media that he was happy with his visit.

We'll see how happy when - and if - he signs on the bottom line.

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