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What Happened On Day 5
July 27 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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It was a scary day at 49ers training camp as the injury bug kept biting. This time though, it really sunk its teeth in. Fully padded, and dripping intensity the 49ers were in the midst of their goal line scrimmage when Jammal Robertson took a hand off and headed for the endzone. Wearing the sacred ‘49’ Robertson was met by a ton of defenders, he stuffed. And then things got ugly.

Moments later, Robertson was lying faced down on the ground, in obvious pain, coaches, doctors and trainers came running to Robertson’s aid, he had got his feet tangled with Cedrick Wilson. Fearing a spinal injury, Robertson was told to lie motionless, and asked to wiggle his toes and fingers. Luckily he could. Of course, that was no silver lining to this storm crowd. After lying on the ground for twenty minutes, Robertson was carefully rolled over, strapped into a spinal board and taken to the hospital for a MRI. Early reports were that Robertson severely sprained his back, but his injury has been re-categorized to a severe strain. Robertson is lucky because the alternative is downright morbid. Further tests indicated how much time Robertson will have to miss from training camp. If it’s substantial the 49ers may consider re-signing Jonas Lewis.

The team also welcomed its new comer, Kwaguchi all the way from Japan. Kwaguchi signed a ten day contract with the 49ers, and will be a part of the team when they visit Osaka to face Washington in the American Bowl. Whether Kwaguchi will be given a fair shot to make the roster, or just asked to be the team’s translator remains to be scene.

Jim Mora worked feverishly with the defense on several new plays. He was brining pressure from the safety position and working on coverage shifts. Mora worked on signaling, the team from the sidelines to improve response time. The players appeared to have very little trouble learning to read signals from sidelines.

Steve Mariucci spent a ton of time before practice making sure that the quarterbacks and ‘mock centers’ could snap the ball without fumbling it. The extra practice appeared to pay off as not one fumbled snap was dropped all day. Also along the offensive line, Scott Gragg and Ron Stone were just dominating. Ward, Willig and Heitmann were also quite impressive.

The field goal competition was much closer today. Cortez and Chandler matched each other kick for kick surpassing the fifty yard mark with relative ease. The 49ers are likely hoping one of these guys will just slip up, just so they don’t actually have to make this decision.

The play of the day though, had to have been when Tim Ratty took a smooth snap from center and dropped back to pass. Looking deep, Ratty spotted Owens in single coverage running a precise post. A touchdown appeared to be imminent as the ball sailed from Ratty’s arm, across the horizon towards Owens. The defender though, was stride for stride, managing to get between Owens and the ball, something few defensive backs can even dream of, and knocked the pass down. The defender was none other, than rookie, first round draft pick, Mike Rumph. A overly jubilant Gill Byrd raced over to congratulate Rumph. Teddy Gaines, Rashad Holman and Zack Bronson also caught the coaches’ eyes.

New center Ty Wise injured his knee in the morning. Wise could not practice in the afternoon. Derek Smith tweaked his hamstring and is day to day, Sutherland is in the same situation.

The team had CB Fred Booker, CB Bo Strickland and C John Romero in for workouts. None of the three players was signed…The team will continue the workouts today with Blaine Saipaia (Colorado State) visiting. He has previously been with the Saints and Titans.

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