Back from illness, Otten auditions for NFL scouts

Published: Sunday, Mar. 17, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 17, 2013 - 7:31 am

SAN JOSE – Ryan Otten is back on his feet, back to his normal weight and, after a scary diversion, back on track to be selected in the NFL draft next month.

The former Del Oro High School tight end took part in San Jose State's pro day Friday, catching passes from alumnus Jeff Garcia and running the 40-yard dash for the first time for NFL scouts. Otten didn't take part in last month's scouting combine in Indianapolis because he was recovering from a serious staph infection that caused him to lose more than 20 pounds and required a daily regimen of intravenous antibiotics.

The illness hit Otten in late January at the Senior Bowl. Otten was battling the flu, and a cut on his finger in the middle of the week became infected, causing him to go to a Mobile, Ala., hospital after the game. His weight, about 243 pounds during his senior season with the Spartans, eventually dropped to 217.

Otten was back to 242 pounds Friday, and he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds. His father, Steve, said even after the antibiotics treatment ended in mid-February, it took a week for his son's digestive tract to return to normal.

"Two weeks from now, he'll be even further along," Steve Otten said. "He still probably can add another five pounds of muscle."

Ryan Otten said he was 100 percent. He's had private workouts with two teams, and he chatted with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on Thursday at San Jose State. Harbaugh was there to watch practice and talk to the team afterward.

Otten's forte – pass catching – was on display as he worked with Garcia, the former 49ers quarterback. Otten saw about 20 passes and didn't have any drops.

Scouts from 26 NFL teams were on hand, including the Raiders and 49ers.

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

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