SANTA CLARA Jim Harbaugh on Sunday said he hoped Tarell Brown and the 49ers could find a "solution" to the salary snafu that cost the starting cornerback $2 million this season.
"He deserves it. He's earned it," the 49ers' coach said. "I don't want to see him playing for the minimum when he's a starting, top-end player."
Brown's 2013 base salary dropped from $2.95 million to $925,000 this season because he did not earn an escalator that required him to work out in Santa Clara. Instead, Brown, 28, spent the voluntary portions of the 49ers' offseason program near his home in Texas.
Brown said he fired his agent because of the oversight. The veteran attended a mandatory minicamp in June and appears to be in excellent shape to begin training camp. Brown has been a two-year starter for the 49ers and is entering the final year of his contract. Asked if a solution might involve extending Brown's deal, Harbaugh didn't rule it out.
"I don't know that it's any one particular thing, but I think we'll explore all those options and find a solution," he said. "It's there. We're very motivated to do that."
He said that, like Brown's agent, the 49ers were unaware that Brown would lose the money.
Said Harbaugh: "I just think it was an unfortunate situation. I feel confident knowing that the people involved had they known anything, then they would have brought that to attention. Unfortunately, nobody caught it. That led to a real torpedo that nobody wanted to see happen."
Injury bug bites Linebacker Darius Fleming, who sat out his rookie season last year with a torn ACL, appeared to injure the same knee while covering a kickoff late in practice. Fleming tried to switch directions and went down in a heap.
A testament to how popular he is in the locker room: Most of the squad huddled around him while trainers tended to his knee. Defensive lineman Ian Williams, a teammate of Fleming's at Notre Dame, sat next to a dejected Fleming for the rest of practice.
Fleming had been moved from outside to inside linebacker for the start of this season. He tweaked the same knee in June and was wearing a brace on it when he went down. Other backup inside linebackers include Michael Wilhoite, Nate Stupar and sixth-round draft pick Nick Moody.
Meanwhile, injuries continue to mount at wide receiver.
Kyle Williams (hamstring) did not practice Sunday, while Ricardo Lockette seemed to suffer a right hip injury midway through practice. Lockette tried to return but was obviously hampered.
Rookie Quinton Patton has been practicing with a soft cast on his left hand to protect two broken fingers. Patton wore a blue, non-contact jersey, and no passes have been thrown in his direction in camp.
Marlon Moore (Natomas High School) seemed to sprain his ankle but toughed it out through practice.