Off-Season Program Gets Going

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The halls at the 49ers team headquarters in Santa Clara are quiet no more as the vast majority of the current 64 man-roster adjourned at the facility on Monday for the start of the 14-week off-season strength and conditioning program.

The workouts kicked off with each of the three workout groups hearing from head coach Mike Nolan, head strength coach Duane Carlisle, and head trainer Jeff Ferguson. The players were also introduced to the team's nutrionist and massage therapist.

"We wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page with our expectations and goals," said Carlisle. "I think it gave the guys a real clear understanding of where we are trying to go. They are the center of a wheel and we as coaches, nutritionists, trainers, massage therapists are the spokes. We are here to help and service the athlete so they feel that they are part of a comprehensive program that will address of their needs."

Following the short meeting, the players were put through a functional movement test by Carlisle, Ferguson and their staffs.

"These tests allow us to identify any red flags and uncover any areas that guys might not be aware of such as any muscle imbalances between their right or left side," said Carlisle. "We can identify those areas and then put together a post-workout program that addresses those needs."

Linebacker Manny Lawson already knew ahead of the test that he's still got some work to do in rehabbing his knee, but he appreciated having an overview of the rest of his body.

"We took some pre-tests on stability that showed us what our strong suits are and what our weak points might be and then we'll go from there," said Lawson. "Now it's about working to make our weak points be strong suits."

Lawson took part in the early 7AM workout which also included a few newcomers in J.T. O'Sullivan, Justin Smith and Dontarrious Thomas.

"I never left here and so I've mainly been here in my solitude doing my rehab, but you grow real close to the guys and you miss them. You call them all the time, but you don't get that satisfaction until you get to actually see them, so it's great to be back," said Lawson. "We've got some new guys who we are meeting too and so it's a chance for us to learn a little about them, see their work ethic and then start building that camaraderie with them as well."

Thomas, a fifth-year free agent pickup out of Minnesota, said his first day felt like he was re-living his rookie year.

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"I was kind of nervous, and didn't really know where to go," said Thomas. "All the guys have been really cool so far and it was a good chance to meet Coach Nolan for the first time. I think just getting familiar with everything today was a big step for me. I'm glad to have the first day out of the way and I'm looking forward to being part of this program from here on out."

New players also popped up in the other two groups, including return specialist Allen Rossum and wide receiver Bryant Johnson.

"It went well," said Rossum. "I've been working out since February, but I might be a little sore later because there were some new exercises for me and some new stretches. I'll need to get into a routine so that it will flow a little better, but it was a great first day. Everything went well."

Regardless of their longevity with the team, Carlisle expected a top performance in each and every player's workout.

"One of the things Coach Nolan is stressing is one play at a time so we are going to reinforce that message into each and every one of our workouts and make sure the guys know it's one workout at a time," said Carlisle. "We need to maximize the opportunity and work as hard as we possibly can to get the most out of every single workout. That's how we'll get better. So, for this first day, the guys had an awesome workout. They came back ready and they were receptive to everything and they worked hard."

Notes: Isaac Bruce and Walt Harris are not expected to participate in the majority of the 49ers off-season program as they follow their own long-time training routines. Jonas Jennings is also not expected to be here for all of the workouts due to personal reasons.  

A few players were absent on Monday, but they are expected to take part in the majority of the program including Nate Clements (expected in on Wednesday), Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Zak Keasey, Ray McDonald, Jay Moore and Michael Robinson.

Make sure to check out our photo gallery for some photos of today's workout.

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