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  • Marcio Jose Sanchez The Associated Press Wide receiver Austin Collie stretches before a Friday workout. The former Oak Ridge High School standout signed a one-year contract.

  • Matt Barrows

Wide receiver Collie signs one-year deal with 49ers

Published: Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 - 6:19 am

SANTA CLARA – A testament to how poorly the 49ers wide-receiver competition had been going in training camp: Three veteran wideouts had tryouts Friday and the team ended up signing two of them.

Both are local products – Austin Collie, a prep star at Oak Ridge High School, and Lavelle Hawkins, who is from Stockton and who played at Cal.

They, with ex-Jaguars wideout Laurent Robinson, ran routes and caught passes from Colin Kaepernick around noon while Jim Harbaugh, general manager Trent Baalke and a host of assistants and scouts watched.

Three hours later, Collie and Hawkins had signed one-year contracts and were getting fitted for helmets and pads so they could take part in the 49ers' 5 p.m. practice.

Each caught one pass late in the session, though Hawkins' down-field grab from rookie backup B.J. Daniels was out of bounds.

To make room for the new hires, the 49ers released two undrafted rookies, center Sherman Carter and punter Colton Schmidt, who played at UC Davis.

For Collie, 27, it was his second trip to Santa Clara.

The ex-Colts receiver worked out for coaches and scouts June 13 when he took passes from Daniels.

He has recovered from a torn patellar tendon that cost him most of the 2012 season in Indianapolis, and he has passed all the neurological tests associated with concussions. Collie has suffered three of them since Nov. 7, 2010, when, in a game against the Eagles, he was taken off the field on a stretcher.

One of the 49ers team doctors, Daniel Garza, is a specialist at Stanford Hospital in concussions and head injuries.

Collie said he worked out for four teams this offseason and that some of them gave him neurological evaluations. He said he passed each one.

"If a doctor came to me and said, 'Hey, you shouldn't be playing,' I wouldn't play," he said. "I have a pretty good self-awareness of where I'm at with my body. I'm a smart kid. I'm not going to put myself at risk. And every doctor I talked to said, 'You can play. You're ready to go.' "

Collie played in only one game last year for the Colts and caught only one pass from then-rookie Andrew Luck before injuring his knee.

With Peyton Manning as his quarterback the previous three seasons, he was prolific. He had 172 catches for 1,839 yards and 16 touchdowns over that span. Collie was a fourth-round pick in 2009, and his 60 receptions tied for first – with Percy Harvin – among rookie receivers that season.

Hawkins, 27, was a fourth-round pick by the Titans in 2008. He had 71 catches for 771 yards and a touchdown in five seasons in Tennessee. He also returned seven kickoffs last year, including a 71-yarder. Hawkins signed a two-year deal with the Patriots in May, but they cut him earlier this week.

The wide-receiver battle for a starting role opposite Anquan Boldin was one of the most anticipated of the 49ers' training camp but fizzled in the first week.

Three contenders – Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins and Kassim Osgood – suffered sprains and strains and have not been practicing. A fourth, Ricardo Lockette, missed Friday's practice with an apparent hip injury. Another, fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton, broke a finger and cannot catch passes.

Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, currently are on the physically unable to perform list.

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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