49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

December 8, 2008
Gore ailing; Clayton looming

Everyone who's been hoping to see Thomas Clayton in action in a regular season game - here's your best chance. In his Monday press conference, Mike Singletary said there was a chance that Clayton, stuck on the practice squad the last two seasons, could be elevated to the 53-man list this week. That, of course, is contingent on Frank Gore's left ankle, which he sprained early in the third quarter this week. Singletary said Gore would be evaluated throughout the week but had not been ruled out at this point. Said Singletary of Clayton: "All I know (about him) is he runs hard and he does everything he's asked to do. ... I'll say this: Mike Martz is a big fan of his. And that tells you something. ... he works his tail off."

Clayton has two things going against him. One is that Gore is heading home to Miami, a city that, if he were to remain with the 49ers, he wouldn't play in again until 2016. the other is that Gore is just 22 yards from reaching 1,000 for the season, thus becoming the first 49ers 'back in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.

If Gore can't play, DeShaun Foster would start at tailback and Clayton would be his back-up. Foster was one of five 49ers who fumbled Sunday against the Jets, and Singletary said today he was concerned with the careless manner in which Foster holds the ball. "Absolutely. Yes I am (concerned)," Singletary said. "But he will get better at it."

Mike Nolan's no longer with the 49ers, but his presence lives on. Singletary said today that he routinely communicates with Nolan via text message. Apparently, they're huge BFFs. In fact, Singletary gave Nolan one of the game balls following Singletary's first-ever win Nov. 16 against St. Louis. Said Singletary: "I wanted to make sure that I let him know that I'm always indebted to him as a friend." Both men live in Saratoga, and Singletary drove the game ball to Nolan's home.

Asked about Sunday's win over the Jets, Singletary singled out one player -- Vernon Davis. The tight end's contribution in the passing game was modest: three catches for 29 yards. But Singletary raved about how Davis performed as a blocker. "For him to be on a defensive end, linebacker -- I don't care who it was. He was on 'em, he was driving 'em, he was moving 'em. And it wasn't like they didn't know he was coming. it was impressive."

The defensive end with whom Davis mostly was locking horns was Shaun Ellis. Davis said he knew he was getting the better of his opponents when they started chattering. Said Davis after Sunday's game: "As soon as they started talking trash, that's when I knew they were getting mad. On one play, no. 92 (that's Ellis), he just came after me and choked me. We knew they were getting frustrated."

-- Matt 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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