Not only will Ahmad Brooks be on the field for the 49ers’ first game on Monday, defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said the outside linebacker will have a lead role in the pass rush.
“I don’t expect any restrictions on Ahmad at all,” Mangini said Friday. “And Ahmad’s shown some versatility where can go left, he can go right. He can move around. Ahmad can be anywhere.”
Brooks has been charged with misdemeanor sexual battery in relation to a December incident at the home of former teammate Ray McDonald. When the charge was announced last month, the 49ers sent Brooks home from Colorado, where they were practicing.
But the NFL’s recent decision not to place Brooks on the commissioner’s exempt list prompted the 49ers to welcome him back. The NFL said that based on its initial investigation of the matter, placing Brooks on the list, which would have prevented him from having contact with the team, was “not warranted.”
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At one point this offseason, the 49ers envisioned Aldon Smith lining up at various points along the line of scrimmage and keeping the opposing offensive line off balance.
But Smith was released last month after he was arrested, and he was charged Friday with three misdemeanors relating to that incident. Earlier Friday, he joined the Raiders after agreeing to a one-year contract.
Now that task will fall to Brooks, who likely will see most of his snaps at right outside linebacker – Smith’s former spot – against the Vikings.
“He’s looked good,” Mangini said. “Ahmad’s looked really good. And Ahmad is a guy who ... has really been impressive with his work ethic, his toughness, his consistency, his approach in the classroom. All those things have been outstanding. Outstanding.”
Brooks has been unavailable during the 49ers’ recent open locker room media sessions.
A healthy approach – The 49ers will begin the season with only one player, cornerback Tramaine Brock, on the injury report, which is a league low. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman attributed that, at least in part, to coach Jim Tomsula.
“The benefit of having a coach that was here already – he knows most of the guys,” Bowman said. “ ... When you get a new coach, they come in and try to figure out what they have. So they run you into the ground to see who the tough ones are. And (Tomsula’s) done a great job of just managing the work that we need, (and we) get off the field. He’s been taking care of us.”
Brock is dealing with a hamstring injury he suffered last month during a scrimmage with the Broncos. The injury is not considered severe. Brock practiced Thursday and Friday and is expected to start against the Vikings.