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A Niner Blog, Exit Day

!Over on our social networking site,, we have a few official team bloggers including two of our players in Manny Lawson and Marcus Hudson. Below is part of a recent blog from writer Chrissy Mauck...

Exit Day for me is always bittersweet. When you've been grinding for six months, you're usually thankful that the season is over, but it's hard to see guys packing up and heading out.

Some guys like Frank Gore and Joe Staley said they plan to be around here for a few weeks, but others won't be around probably until the off-season program kicks off, usually in late March. Derek Smith was out fairly quickly this morning. His wife picked him up and they hit the road home to San Diego with plans to stop overnight and go to Disneyland tomorrow. Arnaz Battle said he had an afternoon flight home to Dallas, while Andy Lee said he hoped to recover from the flu in the next day so he can make the drive back home to South Carolina.

So, it gets super quiet around here for a few months. Coaches usually take some time off and then are in and out at the Senior Bowl or other bowl games and it just is pretty deserted.

Also, most of the time you don't say it out aloud, but you know that you could be saying a final goodbye as some players won't be back. Justin Smiley was in today and he got straight to it, saying, "Hey guys, I'm an unrestricted free agent and I don't know what's going to happen, but in case I'm not back, thanks for everything."

I talked to a lot of players today, and in the next few weeks I'll roll out some pieces with Ashley Lelie, Michael Lewis, Shaun Hill, etcetera.

The word from Ashley and Shaun was that they both definitely plan to be back with the 49ers next season. Hill said he hadn't even begun to think about free agency until today, and that he really had no clue how it all even worked, but that he felt at home here with the 49ers. Hill will have surgery on his broken index finger later this week and then will just need rest for his back fractures to heal up on their own.

The general sense from all players was regret for what could have been this year, and a stern commitment to never having another Exit Day in December again. Most of the guys said they felt everything was already in place here, and that they just need to become a consistent team in all facets. I'll have more on all of this later as I get to transcribing some of their quotes.

We just got word that the 4 o'clock press conference has been cancelled with Coach Nolan today. Nolan hoped to squeeze in a session with the media, but has been in meetings with players, staff and ownership for most of the day.

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