Checkout day: Spikes lobbies for his return

Linebacker Takeo Spikes is beginning to lobby for his return next season to the 49ers. And he has the team’s only Pro Bowl player firmly on his side.

When speaking about Spikes, linebacker Patrick Willis said, “He’s been playing for 11 years and he’s never been in the playoffs. If he comes back for one more year, we’ll go to the playoffs.”

 

Spikes and wide receiver Bryant Johnson are the only 49ers starters who are scheduled for unrestricted free agency. Johnson probably would not return as a starter with Josh Morgan ready to emerge. However, Spikes proved he has another year or two in him as a starter.

 

Spikes began lobbying on Monday, the day after the 49ers’ season ended with a 27-24 victory over the Redskins.

 

“It’s not like we need a lot,” Spikes said. Then he added a few words directed to general manager Scot McCloughan: “Bring me back.”

 

“I feel like this is home,” Spikes said. “And I feel there is unfinished business.”

 

Spikes said he has never regretted leaving a team in his career. He has played with the Bengals, Bills and Eagles. But, he said, this is different.

 

“I would have regrets about leaving this team,” he said.

 

He said he hopes something can happen quickly now that Mike Singletary is the head coach and things are in place for next season.

 

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The big unanswered question is the fate of offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Here is what several players had to say about the situation:

 

Shaun Hill – He said he’s had to learn new systems plenty of times in his career, so he’ll just do the same if Martz does not return. As for the relationship between, Hill and Martz, Hill said, “It evolved, definitely.”

 

“There were some ups and downs in there, but it’s a lot better now than it was in training camp,” Hill said. “Maybe I had to make a believer out of him.”

 

Frank Gore – “If it happens, I guess we just have to do what we did last offseason and pick up a new offense. I like coach Martz. I think he did a pretty good job.”

 

Josh Morgan – “If somebody new comes in, we’ll just have to learn it the same way we did this year and execute.”

 

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Today was checkout day for players. Here are some tidbits from the players as they packed their belongings and left town:

 

–Morgan said he will take about three weeks of rest to allow his torn groin muscle to heal. When asked if believes he’s capable of being the No. 1 receiver next season, Morgan said, “They told me if I hadn’t gotten injured, I would’ve been the No. 1 receiver this year.”

 

And who told him that?

 

“Everybody,” he said.

 

–Vernon Davis saw his production drop from 52 receptions in 2007 to 31 catches this season. But he said he feels satisfied that he did what was asked of him. After all, he asked to do a lot more blocking than in the past.

 

“I’m pretty much happy with what I did,” Davis said. “I helped in run-blocking and pass protection. I helped the team.”

 

–Does Davis expect Shaun Hill to be the starting QB next season?

 

“I expect him to be, yes,” Davis said. “But you never know what happens.”

 

–On the rough start Davis and Singletary experienced together, Davis said, “It was his first time doing it, and it was my first time being with a coach like that. I love the guy. I’m glad he got the job.”

 

–Hill said he hopes to head into the offseason as the starter, but he does not know exactly where he stands.

 

“I don’t know what the perception is,” he said. “I feel like I definitely played hard.”

 

When it was suggested to Hill that maybe the team does not want Hill to get too comfortable by naming him the starter, he disputed that logic.

 

“If you have to have that psychology, you’ve got the wrong person,” Hill said.

 

–On the final drive, Hill said there was a calm in the huddle.

 

“Overall, the feeling was that the game was ours,” Hill said.

 

He said the team’s tight finishes at Arizona and Miami might have helped the 49ers on Sunday because they had been in those positions previously and knew how to respond.

 

–Willis reported to the 49ers’ team complex this morning and went through a standard workout. After all, he has one game remaining in his season. He is the 49ers’ lone representative in the Pro Bowl on Feb. 8. “I rest when I sleep,” Willis said.

 

–Spikes said the loss to Philadelphia this season really hurt. But it was that Monday night loss at Arizona that changed the season, he said.

 

“If we could’ve closed that game in Arizona, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now,” Spikes said. “We’d be talking about the playoffs.”

 

–Gore will return to Miami to have the doctor who performed his knee surgeries take a look at his ankle. Gore was pretty sore today, but said he felt good about becoming the first player in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

 

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