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Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Around the NFC West: Singletary's return

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

It's homecoming week in the NFC West.

The Tennessee Titans' Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Hutchinson, Mike Reinfeldt, Ruston Webster and other former Seattle Seahawks will be returning to the Northwest for an exhibition opener at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night.

In San Francisco, meanwhile, former 49ers coach Mike Singletary will return to Candlestick Park with the Minnesota Vikings for an exhibition opener Friday night.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News caught up with Singletary by phone and found him to be gracious. Singletary: "No. 1, I'll always be indebted to the 49ers.  They gave me an opportunity when they could have chosen many others in their organization. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at an organization that really wants to win."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Colin Kaepernick remains the No. 2 quarterback despite some inconsistent play. Maiocco: "Veteran Josh Johnson has not closed the gap with some inconsistent play of his own. Johnson threw an interception to Chris Culliver. Alex Smith also threw an interception, as Perrish Cox picked off a ball intended for Randy Moss."

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers are listing "Randy Moss or Mario Manningham or Ted Ginn" as the starting receiver opposite Michael Crabtree. Noted: Moss coming off the bench? That's a tough sell if Moss remains on the roster.

More from Maiocco: 49ers safety Cory Nelms watched his girlfriend, Olympian T'erea Brown, post a personal-best time of 54.21 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh singled out Kendall Hunter and Ahmad Brooks for having strong camps to this point.

Seahawks.com has a photo showing Terrell Owens working out for the team.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com asks Eugene Robinson why Cortez Kennedy wasn't enshrined in the Hall of Fame a few years earlier. Robinson: "If Tez had played in New York or Dallas, oh my goodness. They would have changed the rules. Tez would have been in the Hall before his career was over. He was that good. He was that dominating."

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times thinks the Seahawks are taking a big risk by adding Owens. Brewer: "On a team that already must monitor Marshawn Lynch, Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards (if he makes the team) for various reasons, this is both a dangerous acquisition and a fascinating experiment."

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle thinks signing Owens is a smart move for Seattle on various levels, including this one: "The signing of Owens clearly shows this receiving group needs help. Ricardo Lockette has a tight hamstring and tighter hands. Kris Durham has lacked separation and suddenness and got banged up once again in Sunday's scrimmage. Sidney Rice will see very little contact on his surgically repaired shoulders all preseason. Baldwin has a tweaked hamstring. Golden Tate is not a legitimate outside receiver down-in and down-out." Noted: Huard also points to the minimum salary Owens will be earning. Money defines where a player stands in an organization. Owens and the 49ers' Moss are scheduled to earn relatively low salaries. That's important in giving the team leverage.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic revisits the Cardinals' preseason opener against New Orleans, offering notes on offense and defense. Somers: "Inside linebacker Paris Lenon suffered an ankle injury near the end of the first possession. After the game, he said he was fine. His replacement, Stewart Bradley, played well, batting down a pass near the goal line and registering a sack."

Also from Somers: finding his bearings in Missouri, where the Cardinals are practicing this week.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals saw good things from Bradley, who must have been having fun to go with the dance he revealed following a sack Sunday night. Bradley: "I've been messing around in camp with the dorkiest dance I could think of, and I came up with that. Guys were like, 'There is no way you will do that, but if you do, it would be awesome.' I said, 'Hey, if I get a sack or a big play, I’m going to put it out there.' "

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams are getting healthier, particularly in the secondary. Thomas: "Jeff Fisher's approach when it comes to ailing players seems to be a proactive one, at least as much as possible. After 16 full seasons in the NFL as a head coach, he knows the Lombardi Trophy isn't awarded in August. He's trying to have a healthy team on the field for the regular season, starting with the Sept. 9 opener in Detroit. If that means holding a player out of practice now for an extra day or two, so be it."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams receiver Danario Alexander, who his continually battling to get healthy. Alexander: "Too many knee injuries, too many operations, too many major and minor aches and pains and way too many frustrating rehab stints repeatedly have hit the pause button on a career that once seemed destined for greatness, but now is on the verge of an unhappy ending."

Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com offers Rams notes, including one on rookie receiver Brian Quick getting some reps with the first-team offense.

Erica Sherman of stlouisrams.com says backup quarterback Kellen Clemens' knowledge of Brian Schottenheimer's offense effectively gives the team another assistant coach.