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Backing Up Center
June 5 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The 49ers made a peculiar move this week when they rescinded a contract to back up center Ben Lynch. Lynch was the teamís only back up behind Jeremy Newberry last season, and played quite when given the opportunity. Despite feeling the pressures of having two injured centers last season, the 49ers decided that Lynch would most likely not return to the team this season.

The 49ers current contingency plans for a Jeremy Newberry injury involve shifting Dave Fiore from guard to center, and promoting one of their back up guards. Certainly the plan is far from fool proof. While Fiore can play the center position, itís not Ďhis positioní. It also means that he would have to adjust on the fly to a new move. Essentially leaving the offensive line with one player in the wrong position and one new player, where as having a backup center, would just bring one new player to the line.

The 49ers should make it a priority this off-season to sign a backup center, someone they can depend on at the position in the event that Jeremy Newberry does get hurt. Protecting Jeff Garcia and snapping the ball properly are a crucial part of any team. Ben Lynch was a solid back up and replacing him will not be easy.

Further Notes:
Last week the 49ers claimed linebacker Shane Elam off the waiver wire. Elam was with the team last season until he was cut in October so the team could sign Rick Mirer.

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