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Monday, May 10, 2010
Graduation rules affect Gilyard, others

By Mike Sando

Two factors contributed to Beanie Wells' slow start as a rookie for the Cardinals last season.

The graduation schedule at Ohio State prevented him from participating in NFL practices until training camp opened. And when camp finally did open, Wells missed the very start while contract talks lingered, only to suffer a sprained ankle on his first day of work.

While all rookies are allowed to participate in their team's postdraft camp, NFL rules prevent players from joining their teams until May 16 or until their colleges have held final examinations, whichever comes later. Players who have already graduated or will graduate before May 16 can join their teams May 16.

I've looked up graduation dates for NFC West draft choices and most should be able to join their teams May 16. A few exceptions:
The 49ers do not have OTAs again until May 17. All colleges associated with their draft choices have graduations scheduled for May 16 or earlier. Linebacker Keaton Kristick, an undrafted free agent from Oregon State, is the only 49ers rookie affected. Oregon State holds graduation June 12.