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Off the Fringe, On the 53

Posted Sep 3, 2010

Alex Boone treated Friday morning the same way he did any morning of the past month. He woke up early, headed to 49ers headquarters and attended a team meeting.

Only on this day, 22 of Boone’s teammates were not joining him. They were released one day before the 49ers had to comply with the NFL’s 53-man roster limit.

Unlike those players, Boone hadn’t heard anything from the 49ers coaching staff, so he stuck to his routine and attended the meeting. Upon arrival, it didn’t take long for the 6-foot-7, 328-pound tackle to figure out his future for the 2010 season.

“I showed up to the meeting and it was clear to me, now we’re getting ready for Seattle,” Boone said. “I was telling the guys it felt like a dream. It’s so surreal how everything has paid off. It feels so good to know that I finally did it. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

After being one of the 49ers final roster cuts at the end of the 2009 preseason, the former Ohio State Buckeye was signed to the team’s practice squad where he further developed at the right tackle position. In the offseason, Boone dedicated himself to losing weight and getting himself ready to make the 53-man roster in 2010.

He was followed by NFL Network cameras which documented his tiring workouts back home in Ohio with former NFL linemen LeCharles Bentley as well as captured the young tackle’s dreams of playing professional football, all part of their “On the Fringe” series.

All of his efforts were rewarded on Friday and for Boone, it just felt right.

He was no longer on the fringe. He was on the 53.

“The hard work was the only reason I had the result that I did today,” Boone said. “It’s because of the guys who pushed me and stayed on top of me. This is one of those things where you can see the results from working. It’s amazing. I still can’t believe it. I still have goosebumps thinking about it.”

Boone’s laborious offseason was apparent to everyone in the 49ers organization, including his head coach. The work transformed the tackle into a physically-imposing player, who successfully pass-blocked and opened running lanes throughout the preseason.

“We felt he really fits the identity of this football team,” Mike Singletary said.

Boone agreed.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to work with all my teammates, especially our linemen. We have a great group of guys and they’re like brothers to me. I love them to death. They always help me out.

“The fact that we pride ourselves on playing physical football, I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

Boone was ecstatic to be named to the roster. Additionally, he’s pleased to film more episodes for his TV49 documentary series, “Boone-Docs.”

“I’m going to tell the fans right now – I’ll have some really exciting stuff for you guys this year.”

Other Notes from Cut-Down Day

Perhaps the biggest surprise for many observers on cut day was seeing Michael Robinson’s name not included in the 53-man roster. The five-year veteran running back was the team’s special teams captain for the past two seasons, but ultimately Singletary felt it was best to go in another direction. “It was very difficult as you can imagine. Mike (Robinson) exemplifies the character traits you want in a team player. It really came down to a decision based upon productivity, how much does he play.”

Undrafted Tramaine Brock’s inclusion was another feel-good story from Friday. The soft-spoken cornerback didn’t raise decibel levels with boisterous play in camp; rather he consistently improved and finished the preseason with a game-clinching interception against San Diego. “When you look at Brock, he’s a kid he comes to practice and every day he get s little better,” Singletary said. “He’s one of those guys who has some upside. That warranted keeping him.” Singletary said Brock fit his vision for the 49ers perfectly. “I just felt we looked at our identity…  (We want) guys willing to compete every day and that’s Tramaine Brock.”

Singletary was asked if the cuts reflected a youth movement, he responded: “You think its youth movement, no it’s not. It’s a football player-movement. It’s trying to get better as a team-movement. Hopefully that’s the way it always will be.”

Lastly, it might not be considered a youth movement, but all eight of the 49ers 2010 draft picks were named to the 53-man roster.

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