Rip Van Winkle is back on the 49ers beat

During the latter stages of my admittedly epic vacation, I started to feel remiss, even lazy. How could I abandon my readers for a full month, leave them bereft of 49ers minutiae during the heart of summer? In the past week, the whisper inside my ear became a full-throated roar: GET BACK TO WORK!!

But playing hooky didn’t teach me any valuable life lessons. In fact, you could almost say I was rewarded for my sloth. Catching up on Niners news, it appears that the only significant occurrences during my month away were (1) the signing of sixth-round draft choice Nate Byham and (2) Frank Gore’s unexpected entry into the event-planning profession.

In other words, my timing, for once, was good. Now I’m back and so are the 49ers. Players like Nate Clements are tweeting that they have returned to the Bay Area in anticipation of training camp. President Jed York, head coach Mike Singletary and VP of player personnel Trent Baalke will address season-ticket holders at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Tuesday night. Rookies report for camp Friday, veterans on Saturday, and the first practice is next Monday.

The green light is on, and the football factory is about to get cranking. I’ll do my part by shaking off the cobwebs and offering some analysis and observation.

One disclaimer: I’ll probably be covering some Raiders practices this summer as well. Don’t worry, I won’t be posting Raiders blog items here. I just won’t be commenting on the 49ers those days.

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