Around the NFC West

How are the 49ers preparing for their road trip to London in late October? What are the details behind Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill's punishment from the NFL? Does Rams running back Steven Jackson think rookie quarterback Sam Bradford is ready to be the starter? Find out these answers and more inside.


SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

  • Quarterback Alex Smith, tight end Vernon Davis, coach Mike Singletary and owner John York have visited London this year in advance of the team's Oct. 31 game at Wembley Stadium. York chairs the NFL's International Committee, which explains why the 49ers have taken the advanced publicity for the game so seriously.

    "There is easily enough of a fan base over here to stage two games a season," York told the London media. "I couldn't tell you when that would be. I can see it both ways. I'm not sure what will be first, a Super Bowl over here or an NFL team, but they both seem likely to happen."

  • Personnel chief Trent Baalke attended workouts for supplemental draftees NT Joshua Brent-Price and FB Vanness Emokpae, but the 49ers passed on both. The team was especially intrigued by Emokpae, a versatile 240-pounder from Truman State. Baalke, however, is content with Moran Norris and Brit Miller at the position.


    SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

  • Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill finally received his punishment from the league for a January 2009 arrest in Georgia for misdemeanor marijuana possession. He will miss the season opener without pay, and also will miss an additional game check for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

    The 27-year-old can participate in all preseason practices and games. His suspension begins on Sept. 4 and he will be eligible to return Sept. 13 following the Seahawks' opener against San Francisco.

    However, Hill could face additional suspension time for his ongoing court case involving an April incident of domestic violence. Hill pleaded not guilty. The court case could begin next week.

  • Seattle safety Jamar Adams flew with the Patriots Jet Team out of Olympia, Wash. Regional Airport as they practiced maneuvers in preparation for the recent Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Expo.

    "The best fun I've ever had," Adams said about the experience. "I wish I could do it for hours. I was like 'Don't land, stay longer.' That was a blast."

    Adams, entering his third season with the Seahawks, received an invitation to ride with the Patriots after he landed a plane on a flight simulator recently at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. His older brother is a member of the Air Force, stationed at a base in San Antonio.

  • For the first time in four years Seahawks' fans will not have to wait to buy season tickets. The team recently announced it had increased the number of season tickets available to 62,000, a bump of 1,000 from last season. About 1,800 season tickets remain available.

    The Seahawks have had a waiting list since capping ticket sales in June of 2006 after the team's Super Bowl season. Seattle has sold out 60 consecutive games. Single-game tickets are not on sale, but the 1,000 season tickets will cut into that number of seats available to fans.


    ST. LOUIS RAMS

  • In a story on yahoo.com, running back Steven Jackson said rookie Sam Bradford should be the starter if he's the team's best quarterback.

    Said Jackson, "It's kind of hard. I could see why they'd want to protect their $50 million investment and wait until the offensive line has jelled. But I'm going to be selfish right now, with me being in year seven. If he's the best guy, he needs to play now. I don't want to wait four years like the Packers did with Aaron Rodgers. I don't know if he'll be the best guy, but if he is, I want him in there now."

    As for how Bradford reacts under NFL pressure, Jackson said, "I'm more interested to see him take a hit from a blitzing linebacker or safety -- not only his shoulder, but to see how he reacts as a leader and as a quarterback."

    Jackson, who turned 27 Thursday (July 22), said he doesn't worry about the advancing years and the toll it can take on an NFL running back.

    "I understand I'm taking a huge amount of abuse right now, but it's funny, I don't feel like my career's wasting away," he said. "I find inspiration from Thomas Jones. To see him still putting up 1,400 yards rushing at 31, that's tremendous. So I'm not in panic mode."

    A spectator at OTAs because of April 15 back surgery, Jackson liked what he saw from some young receivers. Jackson said, "I think we're going to have a passing game again. We have two young receivers that have really impressed me -- they're both rookie free agents."

    Asked who they were, he paused and said, "Ummm ... believe it or not, I don't know. I just know their numbers: No. 15 and No. 83."

    Steven Jackson ... meet Dominique Curry (No. 15) and Brandon McRae (No. 83).

  • In addition to QB Sam Bradford, the Rams are also working to sign tackle Rodger Saffold, the team's second-round pick. Saffold is recovering from a minor knee injury suffered during OTAs.

    Tight end Fendi Onobun, a sixth-round pick, agreed to terms on a four-year contract with a signing bonus around $129,000.

  • Added to the coaching staff as a consultant is Frank Verducci, who has had several stops as an offensive line coach in the NFL. Verducci was the line coach at Notre Dame last season.

    The Rams did not replace Art Valero, who was the team's assistant line coach last year and went to the Seattle Seahawks this offseason.


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