Alex Boone is back, and he's still the same Rhino.
After training offsite in Chandler, Ariz., during the San Francisco 49ers three weeks of OTAs, the veteran offensive lineman reported to the team's headquarters on Tuesday for the start of mandatory minicamp.
"I was getting a little stir crazy at home watching two kids all day," Boone said. "I'm always happy being around the guys. Everyone is excited, just happy to be back.
"After a while, you just want to hit somebody."
Boone, who is entering the final year of his contract, said he feels strong and healthy. That's welcomed news for the 49ers, who recently took a hit on the offensive line when starting right tackle Anthony Davis announced his retirement.
There has been talk in the media speculating that Boone might move over from right guard to right tackle to fill the vacancy, but Jim Tomsula said another veteran lineman, Erik Pears, will get the first crack.
"Right now we've got Pears at right tackle," Tomsula said. "And Alex I'm sure at some point will get some work at right tackle. We just have to see where that's at, but Pears will be out there right now."
For his part, Boone, who played tackle at Ohio State, maneuvered around questions asking about where he'll line up this fall.
"That's up to the coaches," Boone said. "I leave that decision with them. I'm just here to play football and have fun. I don't worry about too much else. It's more about getting the offense down, which I feel like I have a good handle on."
In each of his first five NFL seasons, Boone blocked for Frank Gore. But now that the 49ers all-time leading rushing is in Indianapolis, Boone will work to spring big plays for the three-headed attack of Pierre Garçon, Kendall Hunter and Reggie Bush – a task the 28-year-old sounded excited about.
"I see a lot of things. I think the run game obviously looks good with Carlos, Kendall and Reggie," Boone said. "I'm just excited basically about a fresh start. Everything looks good so far."
Boone's first day back at the 49ers facility began with a bit of awkwardness. Tuesday marked the first time Boone and longtime adversary Darnell Dockett crossed paths since the pass-rusher came over from the rival Arizona Cardinals.
After a little hesitation, the two NFC West staples quickly put their past battles behind them.
"You squash all the beef that you've ever had," Boone said. "Obviously there was a lot there between him and I but it's just competition. What happens on the field, stays on the field. That's the way it has to be.
"I look forward to him doing good things here for us."