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Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, then and now

By Mike Sando

Brandon Lloyd's trajectory has changed dramatically and so has that of his original team, the San Francisco 49ers. The parties will scarcely recognize one another when Lloyd pays a free-agent visit to the team Wednesday.

The 49ers won as many regular-season games last season, 13, as they did during the three seasons Lloyd spent on the roster beginning in 2003.

Lloyd, despite enjoying a bright moment or two, ranked only 93rd among NFL players with 2,370 yards receiving from 2003 through 2009, bouncing from San Francisco to Washington to Denver along the way. He improbably has 2,414 yards over the past two seasons, sixth-most in the NFL behind Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Wallace and Wes Welker.

Playing with a long list of sub-mediocre quarterbacks surely contributed to Lloyd's disappointing first seven seasons. Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, J.T. O'Sullivan, Cody Pickett and Chris Weinke were among the starters while Lloyd was with San Francisco through 2005. Jason Campbell, Mark Brunell and Todd Collins were the starters when Lloyd was with Washington.

Lloyd's two-year run of production has come with Josh McDaniels as head coach (in Denver) or offensive coordinator (in St. Louis). McDaniels is now in New England, but if Lloyd is going to follow him there, it will be after first giving the 49ers a look.

Michael Crabtree and the newly signed Randy Moss are the top two receivers on the 49ers' roster. Josh Morgan agreed to terms with Washington. Ted Ginn Jr. is testing the market and reportedly plans to visit the Detroit Lions.

Lloyd's reputation in San Francisco as an immature player unconcerned with winning appears outdated. He is now 30 years old and meeting expectations. The 49ers have largely new leadership, creating the opportunity for a fresh start.

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