Isaac Bruce isn't the only wide receiver likely to dress in a 49ers uniform for the last time Sunday. Arnaz Battle, one of the few holdovers on the roster from the Dennis Erickson era, doesn't think he'll be back next year, either. Battle will become an unrestricted free agent when the season ends. "I definitely can't see it happening here," Battle told me Thursday. "The way things have happened this year - I don't think there's any room."
Battle was healthy throughout training camp and the preseason this season, and at one point was the team's No. 3 receiver. But with the arrival of Michael Crabtree, the 49ers began going with a youth movement at the position. Battle has been the team's punt returner in recent weeks, but he hasn't caught a pass since Oct. 11. The No. 3 receiver is now Jason Hill, and Brandon Jones appears to be next in line.
Battle said he had a sit-down with Mike Singletary about his role in November. He's not bitter about the situation. Like Bruce, he understands that the 49ers have talented young receivers they want to see play. But he also believes he still can still play receiver - especially a third-down possession-type receiver - in this league.
A sixth-round draft pick in 2003, Battle has been a coaches' favorite because his combination of smarts - he played quarterback at Notre Dame - and toughness. Mike Nolan once drew a comparison between Battle and Steelers wideout Hines Ward. Battle turns 30 in February and he drew some interest before the trade deadline this season. Battle says he wants to play another three or four years.
-- Matt Barrows