49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 16, 2009
Niners skeptical of Holt's knee

The 49ers are keeping the door ajar for Torry Holt, but they are very skeptical about the veteran receiver's right knee. Holt, who has been to seven Pro Bowls, was recently released by St. Louis, which owed him a $1.25 million bonus that was due tomorrow. Holt's agent has not contacted the 49ers and Holt, according to the Nashville City Paper, is currently vacationing out of the country. Other receiver-needy teams have said they have no interest in Holt.

Holt's knee problems began in 2005, causing him to miss two games that season. Though he played in all 16 games in 2006, he was limping badly after the season finale and had surgery in February of 2007 to repair torn cartilage in the knee. Despite the surgery, Holt caught 93 passes for 1,189 yards and seven touchdowns that season, and he was voted to his seventh Pro Bowl.

This past season, however, all of Holt's statistics dropped. With rookie Donnie Avery in the lineup, Holt, 32, said in late October that it felt he was being phased out of the offense. He caught 64 passes for 796 yards and three touchdowns in 2008. The 796 yards was his lowest total since his rookie season in 1999, and his 12.4-yards-per catch average was the lowest of his career.

The 49ers' leading receiver last year was Isaac Bruce, who caught 61 passes for 835 yards and seven touchdowns. Bruce, however, is undecided on whether he will return to the 49ers and he is expected to miss the team's first minicamp, which begins Friday. That would leave the 49ers with Arnaz Battle, Jason Hill, Brandon Jones, Josh Morgan and Dominique Zeigler, none of who have experience as a No. 1 receiver.

The 49ers announced they have signed Lewis Baker and Mark Washington to contracts. Both guys went undrafted but are very interesting. Team officials were high on Baker, a linebacker-turned safety out of Oklahoma, last summer. But he suffered a thigh bruise in training camp and was placed on injured reserve. The 49ers like his size (6-2, 202) and, of course, he plays a position at which the 49ers are paper thin.

Washington, meanwhile, at one point was a candidate to get a look at Ted linebacker. Remember, he's the guy who was miscast at nose tackle at Texas State-San Marcos. At 6-3, 245 pounds, Washington certainly has the size for the position. Washington spent 12 weeks on San Francisco's practice squad in 2007 before being signed to the active roster by the Dolphins. He played in three games in 2007 for Miami.

-- 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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