August 16 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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JJ Stokes is still healthy after the teamís entire summer training camp, and no one could be happier than the receiver -except maybe his partner in crime, Terrell Owens. Stokes has been disappointed with his past summer experiences where after training hard all off-season he would get injured in camp. Last season, it happened on the first or second day of camp. Stokes however, survived Stockton this year, and claims a good reason for that was a vacation he took.
Feeling that his muscles were over worked in past training camps, leading to injure, Stokes trained hard all off-season, and then took a weeks vacation before the start of camp. The time off allowed his body to heal and as a result Stokes remained healthy throughout training camp.
One of only 49 players to participate in the 31 practice session the team held, Stokes believes that the increased practice time has allowed him to adjust for the regular season quicker, and believes that heís built a much better rapport with the rest of the starting offense including quarterback Jeff Garcia. After taking a pay cut this off-season, Stokes is pretty sure he will see the ball more in 2002 now that he has practiced more with the starting team.
While Stokes is counting the seconds until the regular season begins, so is star receiver Terrell Owens. Owens is regarded as one of the best in the league at his position, and often sees double and triple coverage. If Stokes emerges as the viable threat he feels he can be, teams may not be able to concentrate so heavily on Owens.
Of course there is still about three weeks to go before the start of the regular season, and Stokes will have to remain healthy though three pre-season games and a ton of practices before he even gets his chance to make a difference in the regular season. Itís a long way to go, but so far, so good.