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Friday, July 31, 2009
Ex-49er Grant gets work with Rams' linebackers

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rams fans and 49ers fans might be interested in knowing that Larry Grant was working with the St. Louis starters at strongside linebacker, with Chris Draft at middle linebacker and Will Witherspoon on the weak side, according to Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The 49ers drafted Grant in the seventh round last year. The Rams signed Grant from the 49ers' practice squad in November.

The Rams' situation at linebacker is one I very much want to monitor this season. The assumption is that second-round choice James Laurinaitis will become a starter sooner rather than later, with Draft moving to the strong side. I wouldn't read much into opening-day camp lineups. Coach Steve Spagnuolo will probably give multiple linebackers chances to work through the rotation as the staff evaluates personnel at the position.

Still, if you had told me six months ago that Grant would open training camp with the starters and Pisa Tinoisamoa wouldn't be on the roster, I would have been skeptical.

While Grant was getting work in St. Louis, however briefly, another former 49ers linebacker was commanding attention in New England. I don't know if Tully Banta-Cain will earn a roster spot with the Patriots, but with Mike Vrabel in Kansas City, there's a chance.

Belichick: "I think Tully is the same player as he was when he was here. I spent some time with Tully both when we signed him in the spring and then in the spring camps and even in training camp. I think we are really trying to define his role and the things that we want him to focus on first.

Tully is a pretty talented player and he's a versatile player and he's done a lot of things for us. He's played in the kicking game. He's played outside linebacker. He's played defensive end. He's played on the edge in a lot of sub situations and he can do all those things, but we really tried to narrow the focus for him a little bit going into camp. I'm not saying he won't be required or asked to do all those things, but we want to try to concentrate on fewer things to start with and then build on that base, so I think he's working hard on that.

I think athletically, physically he's pretty much a similar player to what he was when we had him a couple years ago in terms of his weight, his strength, his speed, his quickness. I'd say pretty much about what they were.