It took some time, but San Francisco 49ers fans and animal lovers now can all rejoice.
"The Rhino" is back.
Alex Boone returned to the 49ers on Monday. He passed his physical and joined his teammates in the locker room on Tuesday. San Francisco was given a roster exemption for the 6-foot-8, 300-pound guard. Boone must be added to the 53-man roster before he can appear in a game.
"I'm happy to be back," the once undrafted offensive lineman said in front of his new locker inside of Levi's® Stadium.
Boone ended a lengthy contract holdout this week and reportedly agreed on a new two-year deal with the team before reporting on Monday. Boone said he's in great shape and he's ready to play after working out six days a week in Chandler, Ariz., with former NFL offensive linemen LeCharles Bentley.
Boone looked to be in good spirits as he interacted with his teammates in front of reporters. Now the question is will he suit up for the 49ers this Sunday in the team's Week 1 road opener against the Dallas Cowboys?
"That's up to the coaches," said Boone, who has started 32 consecutive regular season games for the 49ers.
When asked if he could be effective in the game, the lineman known as "The Rhino," said he would be, "very effective."
"LeCharles and I did a lot of stuff while we were there," Boone added. "Obviously, it's not like hitting, but we covered a lot of thinkgs. I think I'll be prepared."
With Boone away from the team, third-year lineman Joe Looney lined up at right guard with the first-team offense. Looney remained listed with the first-team offense on San Francisco's first unofficial depth chart of the 2014 season. Boone, exempt from the 53-man roster, did not appear on the depth chart.
Boone said he didn't watch Looney or any of San Francisco's full preseason games, but he did see a few clips of his teammates playing in the preseason.
Once the 49ers trimmed their roster down to 53 players, Boone's agents and the 49ers front office were able to strike a new deal to end his offseason holdut.
"It was both sides coming together," Boone said. "We wanted to get something done. I wanted to be back here more than anything."
Boone stressed that there was no animosity towards the front office and that it was all part of the "business" side of football. Boone also said the 49ers won't franchise tag him after the 2016 season.