Singletary is doing his homework on return specialists

Niners coach Mike Singletary is doing his homework in the months leading up to the draft. He was more than just a casual onlooker during the NFL Scouting Combine. Now, he is picking up the phone and getting on flights to continue to scout prospects.

LeRoy.jpgSingletary appears to be investing a lot of time looking at return specialists. One league source told me Singletary dialed explosive return man LeRoy Vann of Florida A&M to speak with him on the phone. (National Football Post recently reported the same thing.) Vann is a 5-foot-8, 180-pounder who returned eight punts for touchdowns and added three scores on kickoff returns during his college career.


Vann was not invited to the combine, but he is attracting attention from NFL teams. Singletary is certainly doing his homework.


Singletary was also the only NFL head coach to attend the University of Cincinnati‘s pro day this week. It would seem obvious that he was there to learn more about receiver/return specialist Mardy Gilyard.


The NFL Network reported Singletary might personally attend the workout of Adam “Pacman” Jones, the troubled former first-round draft pick who flushed his promising career down the toilet with his bad choices and lawless behavior.


Jones, then with the Titans, had a breakout season in 2006 with three punt returns for touchdowns. Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for the 2007 season for numerous violations of the player conduct code.


Jones played for the Cowboys in 2008, and his play fell off dramatically, averaging 4.5 yards on 21 punt returns. After incurring more off-field problems, Jones was released. He was set to play in the Canadian Football League last year, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers pulled the plug on that idea after already working out a contract agreement.


It very well might be that Jones simply can’t play anymore. There’s a reasonable chance he has nothing left to offer on the field. But, maybe, Singletary needs to find that out for himself.


I don’t know whether Singletary will show up to Jones’ March 19 workout in New Orleans or Vann’s workout in Tallahassee one day earlier. But Singletary appears to be covering his bases as the 49ers investigate all the possibilities to find a player at one of the team’s most unstable spots from last season.


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