Around the NFC West: Iwebema grateful

May, 21, 2009
5/21/09
9:10
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema following surgery to remove a baseball-sized benign tumor from Iwebema's chest. Iwebema: "I can't even remember the last time I got an X-ray on my chest [before joining the NFL]. It's a blessing the NFL does this. It might have been too late. I'm really lucky."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com provides medical information about Iwebema's condition. Urban: "Iwebema never knew anything was wrong. After his X-ray he began participating in practice, just like he had taken part in all of the Cardinals' strength and conditioning program during the offseason. But the mass was now in his chest, having grown exponentially over the past year. The teratoma initially appeared in Iwebema at birth. [Trainer Tom] Reed said there is no explanation why Iwebema's genetic code suddenly encouraged growth. Normally, a patient will show some sort of symptom, whether it was shortness of breath or weakness in the upper extremities, as the tumor gets bigger."

Steve Wyche of NFL.com says the Cardinals have "worked hard" on a new contract for receiver Anquan Boldin, according to team president Michael Bidwill. Agent Drew Rosenhaus expresses optimism. Not sure much has changed here, though. The team has pointed to contracts for Adrian Wilson and Karlos Dansby as higher priorities. Perhaps a new deal for Dansby would compel me to say his name right. I accidentally called him "Carlos Daniel" on the radio Wednesday, an unplanned reference to the acrobatic Washington State basketball forward I covered during the 1990s. Sorry, Karlos.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner appears to be functioning well at practice. Warner on his recent hip surgery: "I don't know if it's going to make much of a difference at all. I may be able to move better ... but for a guy my age, I'm not expecting to be able to break any records or get a lot faster than I've been in my career. Hopefully, it keeps me where I was last year and if it gives me any advantage moving-wise, especially at this point when you're just trying to hold on ... that will be a benefit."

Also from McManaman: A few Cardinals remained absent from voluntary practices. Wilson, Boldin and Darnell Dockett were not there. Update: Wilson was there. The other two were not.

The 49ers' Web site provides details on Jerry Rice's visit to organized team activities and the banter between quarterback Shaun Hill and cornerback Nate Clements. Rice passed around his three Super Bowl rings to players. Clements sounded inspired. Tight end Vernon Davis made trick catches at Rick Reilly's request. Reilly attended with Rice to record an ESPN special.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says kick returner Allen Rossum replaced Walt Harris at cornerback after Harris suffered what could be a season-ending injury. That is certainly a temporary arrangement.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers are showing interest in free-agent cornerback Dre' Bly.

Also from Maiocco: "Quarterbacks Shaun Hill and [Alex] Smith [two interceptions aside] threw the ball very well on the rare windless day on the 49ers' practice field. The nicest pass of the day was probably Hill's perfectly lofted pass to Michael Robinson on a wheel route down the right sideline. Robinson made the catch downfield after getting a couple steps on outside linebacker Diyral Briggs."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says second-year receiver Josh Morgan has stood out during the 49ers' practices. That makes sense. Morgan is healthy after a staph infection slowed him last season. Morgan and the other incumbent receivers also face more competition for playing time after the 49ers bolstered the position this offseason.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan seems more comfortable now that Mike Singletary has replaced Mike Nolan and the 49ers have changed up their offensive staff. Another change: Jed York's ascendancy to team president. McCloughan: "I think you see it with Jed, the passion in his eyes, the way he talks about the 49ers. His No. 1 priority is whatever we can do every day to put us in a situation to be successful. I respect that. And I'm doing it my way, my philosophy, my vision, right or wrong. If I go down, I go down my way. It just wasn't meant to be. I feel very confident, very comfortable, that we're going to win."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News quotes potential Harris replacement Tarell Brown as calling himself the "most athletic guy on the team."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams offensive lineman Mark Setterstrom. Two season-ending knee injuries have kept Setterstrom from competing for playing time. Coats: "The Rams are set at guard, with Jacob Bell and Richie Incognito. Setterstrom, 25, is trying to nail down a spot as a multipurpose backup. He's spent the offseason at center, a position he has never played."

John Morgan of Field Gulls revisits kicker Olindo Mare's first season with the Seahawks. Brandon Coutu also remains on the roster. Morgan: "Seattle is either retaining Coutu hoping they can trade him. As Coutu hasn't shown anything that elevates him from a street free agent, I doubt this. Seattle is retaining Coutu as the kicker and Mare as the kickoff specialist. In this case, the team likely loses Mare after 2009 when Mare signs somewhere he can do both. Or, and I grump that this is the most likely scenario, Seattle is retaining Coutu expecting him to beat out Mare in the preseason and take over kicking duties."

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