49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 31, 2008
49ers claim Ahmad Brooks, release linebacker Thomas

The 49ers took a long look at Ahmad Brooks prior to the supplemental draft two years ago but didn't pull the trigger. This time, they did. Brooks, who was released by the Bengals yesterday, was plucked off of waivers by the 49ers. To make room, they cut linebacker Dontarrious Thomas, a free-agent acquisition during the offseason. Brooks played inside linebacker for the Bengals, and it's likely that he will play behind Patrick Willis at "Mike" linebacker in San Francisco.

General manager Scot McCloughan has said in the past that he believes Brooks has the talent of a first-round draft pick. The 49ers paid close attention to him prior to the supplemental draft in 2006, bringing him in for a medical examiniation in July of that year. McCloughan and coach Mike Nolan also traveled to Charlottesville, Va. that June to watch the former UVA standout work out.

The Bengals chose Brooks in the third round of the supplemental draft. The 49ers likely would have taken him with the first pick in the fourth round. Brooks certainly had plenty of baggage while at UVA. He was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2003, and frequently ran afoul of coach Al Groh in three seasons with the Cavaliers. He missed most of the 2005 with injuries and was dismissed from the team at the end of the season.

As a rookie in 2006, Brooks played in 11 games, finishing with 46 tackles, a sack and two passes defensed. The next season, he started the opener and had six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He tore a groin muscle the following week and was placed on IR, thus ending his season.

The 49ers also began building their practice squad, signing RB Thomas Clayton, DT Atiyyah Ellison, TE J.J. Finley, LB Larry Grant, DE Louis Holmes and WR Dominique Zeigler. Guard Brian de la Puente was picked up by the Chiefs.The 49ers have two practice squad positions that still need to be filled and likely will do so tomorrow.

-- Matt Barrows

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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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