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Sutherland Takes Right Step
June 8 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Vinny Sutherland was excused from the final day of mini-camp in order to begin a rehabilitation program for his alcohol abuse. Sutherland, was arrested earlier this off-season from driving while intoxicated, fleeing the scene of an accident and for breaking the restrictions of his probation. While Sutherland is not schedule for his arraignment until June 18th, he has begun a rehab program on his own.

Sutherland enrolling in the program on his own, shows that he is willing to change his ways. Itís also likely to lessen the punishment the law enforcement officers will subject him to. By taking responsibility for his actions - which I believe he is doing with this program, Sutherland is showing he has the maturity to change.

While the 49ers are supporting him through the process, they are also opening the competition to a variety of different players. Among the competitors is Ken Simonton, Jonas Lewis, Cederic Wilson, Jimmy Williams and Jamal Robertson. Wilson appears to be the leader in the category right now (outside of Sutherland of course), and itís known htat Williams dropped at least two punts in practice.

The 49ers expect Sutherland to be able to attend training camp, but they havenít guaranteed him a roster spot. Iíd have to say that Iíve never seen the kick returning position get so much coverage in one off-seasonÖ Amazing what a few felonies will do for you, isnít?

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