Linebacker Manny Lawson generated most of the buzz today, but two other 49ers defenders made their locker-room debuts of 2010. Cornerbacks Shawntae Spencer and Nate Clements, both of whom skipped all the voluntary practices, are here for the three-day minicamp that is about to begin.
Both talked to reporters, and both sent out the same message: They’re happy to be here, but the workouts they really needed were elsewhere.
Clements, who spoke first, has been working with Ian Danney in Scottsdale, Ariz. The 10th-year veteran broke his scapula in the fifth game last season, and Danney has helped him throughout the rehab. The work has included the infamous “Danney Ball” – volleyball with a medicine ball that weighed anywhere from 10 to 14 pounds.
Clements, perhaps a bit slimmer than a year ago, said he’s 100 percent now and ready to get back in action after his most disappointing NFL season.
“I’m definitely motivated, anxious,” he said. “I was telling a friend, it felt like the anxious feeling you get the night before a game.”
Spencer didn’t get hurt last season. His knee injury came a year earlier, and his rehab work with Buddy Morris, the University of Pittsburgh strength and conditioning coach, convinced him to stick with the routine this offseason.
“My approach is still the same,” Spencer said as reporters shifted over a few feet to his locker. “I still have to rehab the knee. That’s the rest of my career. … It’s just the nature of the injury. You start to get up there in age, you lose speed and flexibility. Especially with a knee injury, you have to make sure you stay on that.”
Workout choices aside, both men were eager to resume their work on the practice field. They figure to head into training camp as the first-team corners.
“It’s good to see everybody,” Spencer said. “It’s a few weeks before the bullets start flying.”