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Fullback Owen Marecic Reunites with Harbaugh

Posted Sep 17, 2013

Marecic, formerly a member of the Cleveland Browns, now teams with familiar faces in San Francisco.

Twenty-nine months after the fact, Owen Marecic is back with Jim Harbaugh.

The 49ers announced on Tuesday a one-year contract with Marecic, who will be asked to play fullback and on special teams for his former Stanford coach. In a corresponding roster move, the team placed defensive lineman Ian Williams on the Injured Reserve List. Harbaugh said on Monday that Williams would undergo season-ending surgery on his broken left anke.

"Cleveland gave me a great opportunity. The guys here have done a heck of a job. There is a lot of talent," said Marecic, who became a free agent on Aug. 27 and confirmed he first worked out for Harbaugh and Co. about two weeks ago. "It's humbling to see the success that the team and the coaches have had here. I'm going to try to learn from those guys to improve my game, get my game to where it needs to be."

This transaction is a long time in the making. After missing out on Marecic in the 2011 NFL Draft, Harbaugh said he was dissapointed his Stanford pupil wouldn't be following him to San Francisco.

"We did everything we could to get him here and we came up short on that one," Harbaugh said after Marecic became a fourth-round pick of the Browns. "Cleveland will be very happy with him and that was a heck of a job by them."

As a senior at Stanford, Marecic was an All-Pac 10 Conference first-team selection as a fullback and honorable mention as a linebacker. He was famously called "the perfect football player" by Harbaugh during their time together in Palo Alto, Calif.

Marecic played in 24 games (six starts) his first two pro two seasons. He has four carries and five catches to his name.

Still looking for a handful of career firsts, including a touchdown, he now latches on with a team full of familiar faces. Tied to his tenure at Stanford are Harbaugh and coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio and practice squad safety Michael Thomas, among others. Also, from his two-season stint in Cleveland are ex-Browns Colt McCoy, Phil Dawson and Bubba Ventrone

"It will definitely help to know some guys previously as we move through the week," said Marecic, who was wearing a red No. 39 jersey in his debut practice on Tuesday but will wear 48 across his chest going forward. "There are familiarities (in the playbook), but I have some work to do to really perfect everything from a mental standpoint and then take it out to the field. A ways to go."


Marecic will likely lean heavily on incumbent fullback Bruce Miller for guidance. It was Miller, a standout defensive end at Central Florida, whom the 49ers drafted in the seventh round of Marecic's draft class to take the reins at fullback in Harbaugh's first season at the helm.

"Coach Harbaugh, the one thing he always harps on is competition. Owen is a great football player, so there's competition at that position," Miller said of his status on the team. "I just have to keep worrying about my job and what I have to do to get better as a player.

"I think (Owen) is similar. I have watched him on tape before. He's a good football player."

Miller, Marecic and the rest of the 49ers watched film on Tuesday of their Sunday loss to the Seattle Seahawks -- a game in which running back Frank Gore gained just 16 yards on nine carries.

"Frank's a great running back, but we have guys, even myself for the majority, not executing and that breaks the play down," Miller said post-practice. "Frank can be the best running back in the world, but we have to block for him, make things happen. I think that's why we have struggled getting it going."

Marecic went out of his way to compliment both Miller and Gore.

"It's a great backfield," he said. "I'll do everything I can to try to contribute and improve it."

Does that include playing linebacker, his collegiate position?

"Not from what I've heard," he said with a smile.

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