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April 14, 2010
Niners, Dolphins LaBoy's top suitors

Free-agent outside linebacker Travis LaBoy has two teams in his sights - the 49ers and Dolphins. San Francisco gets a check mark for proximity. "My best friends and my family are an hour and a half away," he said today after working out for scouts and coaches in Santa Clara. The 49ers, however, have more depth at linebacker than the Dolphins and LaBoy's opportunity might be better in Miami. He will work out for the Dolphins Friday. He also has a Tuesday workout scheduled in New England. The Jets remain interested as well.

LaBoy, 28, measured in today at 6-3, 261 pounds. He visited the 49ers in February but did not work out. The biggest question about him is health. He missed the 2009 season after tearing tendons in his foot. The injury required surgery in May 2009 and the insertion of screws. LaBoy said he has fully recovered from the procedure. "I've probably been running full-go, no-restrictions for four months," he said. LaBoy also was suspended for four games last December for undisclosed reasons, but he said the suspension was served in 2009 and will not affect him this season. Still, LaBoy said he would appeal the ruling. "The suspension is done, the punishment has been handed out," he said. "Now we go to court to see if I was guilty or not."

LaBoy grew up in the Bay Area and went to high school in Marin County. (He'll be inducted into his high school's sports hall of fame this weekend). The 49ers are holding their local pro day today. LaBoy recalled working out for the 49ers before the 2004 draft and imagining himself as a 49er. "Not getting drafted by the 49ers in '04 - I was kind of mad," LaBoy said. "So every time I played the 49ers, I tried to really, like, destroy them." LaBoy said he thought he may be signed before the draft and was not worried about his new team taking an outside linebacker. "Competition isn't an issue. I enjoy competition," he said. "I don't see a first-round draft pick or whoever it may be as someone who affects my decision."

So why would the 49ers be interested in LaBoy? The team has two established starters at the position at outside linebacker in Parys Haralson and Manny Lawson. Another player, Ahmad Brooks, showed true potential last season. For one thing, you can never have too many pass rushers. Playing outside linebacker for the Cardinals in 2008, LaBoy began the season with four sacks in the first four games before injuries sidetracked his season. Second, the 49ers might be looking ahead to next season. Lawson is entering the final year of his contract at a time when the team may have bigger priorities when it comes to contract extensions.

-- 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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