SANTA CLARA In 2007, safety Donte Whitner was part of the Bills' defense that fashioned a scheme designed to thwart the downfield success that Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss had been having that season.
The result: Moss caught 10 passes for 128 yards and four touchdowns. Oh, and the Bills lost 56-10.
"Tom Brady stood back there for about 10 seconds and threw like an 80-yard touchdown strike (to Moss)," Whitner said Thursday. "We scrapped the defense right after that play."
With that shared history in mind, Whitner is perhaps the best person in Santa Clara to judge whether Moss, 35, now with the 49ers after sitting out last season, has begun to slow down.
Whitner's verdict after working out alongside Moss for the past two weeks: "He's running the same as he's always run. His body looks like a younger Randy Moss."
Moss arrived for the 49ers' offseason program what the team calls "Football School" on April 30. Since then, he has worked out in the morning with a group that includes Whitner and wideout Michael Crabtree.
At around noon, the entire squad hits the practice fields. New league rules prevent players from practicing in pads and helmets in May, and there are no offense-vs.-defense situations.
Still, quarterback Alex Smith said coach Jim Harbaugh has the 49ers including Moss going 100 mph. Moss ran at least a dozen of his signature "go" routes straight downfield Thursday, the first day the sessions were open to the media, and he hauled in a 50-yarder from Smith.
"He's one of those guys who, anything he touches he seems to catch and come down with," Smith said. "He makes you look good as a quarterback, so that's nice."
The 49ers, who were interested in adding Moss when they grew thin at wide receiver last season, signed him to a one-year deal this year with the hope that he wants to put an exclamation point on a Hall of Fame career.
His last season in the league was far from that. Moss bounced among three teams in 2010 and finished with five touchdowns.
He did seem like the same old Randy Moss when dealing with the media Thursday. He ran a go route past reporters as he left for the day.
"Work is over, baby," he told a female reporter. "We're out of here."
Six deals done The 49ers signed six of their seven draft picks to four-year contracts Thursday. The only one not signed is first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, whose agent said the wide receiver's deal would be done long before training camp begins.
The new collective bargaining agreement has a rookie wage scale that makes contract negotiations far less contentious.
"It feels good to get this other stuff out of the way," said sixth-round pick Trenton Robinson. "I can just focus on doing what I have to do."
Et cetera Longtime tackle Alex Boone, who is getting a chance to play guard this offseason, lined up at right guard with the starting offense Thursday. Said Boone: "It's a lot more violent in there, so I like it."
Fourth-round pick Joe Looney has not fully recovered from a foot injury he suffered in January and will not participate in the rookie minicamp that begins today. Looney is expected to be one of the players competing with Boone at right guard.
Jenkins said he can't wait to get together with former 49ers great Jerry Rice to run the hill that Rice famously made part of his training program. "I want to be that guy one day," Jenkins said.