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Heitmann is Finally Home - By Bryan Hersh July 14 2007

THIS CONTENT IS COPYWRITED, REDISTRIBUTION OF IT (including copy/pasting it to a message board, forum or bbs) IS PROHIBITED AND COULD RESULT IN LEGAL ACTIONS - feel free to quote up to 1 paragraph providing a source link to http://www.49ersparadise.com is included

49ers offensive lineman Eric Heitmann has had his share of competition and frustration since being drafted by the team. Heitmann has rotated throughout the line on an as need basis eventually finding himself in either the guard or center position. In most recent years, Heitmann has shared the center role with Jeremy Newberry who was constantly battling injuries. Newberry had claim to the starting center spot, and performed admirably in that position but over the past few seasons it became clear that the 49ers had to move on.

Eric Heitmann was waiting for that challenge. This offseason Newberry was released from the team allowing Heitmann to finally lay official claim to the starting position. The change to the depth chart solidifies a position that had been in good hands but up in the air for several years. The removal of this distraction should make it easier for the entire offensive line to forge together.

Having had so much experience in the position there is little Heitmann will have to learn as he gains official starting center status. That does not mean though that he can become complacent. The 49ers have paid more attention to building the offensive line in recent years, and as such competition is ready and waiting to push Heitmann to be at his best. Along the offensive line the 49ers have made a continued effort to add versatile solid players it is this versatility that is key in forcing each player to be at their very best.

The center position is the most crucial on the offensive line. The player is responsible for calling the signal, checking the snap count and of course, securing the snap to the quarterback. It all happens in the blink of an eye and that is why the position is so hard to master. The 49ers are in good hands with Heitmann holding the reigns. He has had time to learn the position and hone his skill. With the position now his to lose, Heitmann will have the chance to showcase his talent.

The loss of Jeremy Newberry was tough to swallow, but the move did seem inevitable given the situation. Having Eric Heitmann waiting in the wings was the best insurance policy the team could have and now, Heitmann will have the chance to really take ownership of the position and prove the 49ers are in good hands not just temporary hands.

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