NFC West: Tom Wittum

Around the NFC West: Vick, Martz, more

January, 27, 2010
1/27/10
8:30
AM ET
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says during a chat that he thinks the Rams are "seriously considering" making a play for Michael Vick this offseason. Vick would already know the Rams' offense, which Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur brought from Philadelphia. Vick would sell tickets, a challenge for any team coming off a 1-15 record and lacking star power. Shurmur's relationship with Eagles coach Andy Reid could give the Rams access to more reliable information as to how Vick would fit into a new team. Vick would probably be better than any other quarterback on the Rams' roster. General manager Billy Devaney knows Vick from when both were with the Falcons. Those are all reasons for the Rams to consider Vick if the Eagles make the quarterback available.

Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com says former Rams and 49ers coach Mike Martz could be losing interest in coordinating the Bears' offense after the team has reached out to lots of candidates, but not him. Martz: "It sounds like there's something they want to do. I just want to move on. I just worry about Lovie (Smith). I just want to see him do well. That was the reason for my interest."

Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times says the Bears will hear about it if their offense struggles with someone other than Martz as coordinator. Hayes: "Maybe (Jay) Cutler is nixing Martz because Martz was critical of Cutler's demeanor during a news conference earlier this season. Should the quarterback be making this call? Former Lions coach and current Bears assistant Rod Marinelli butted heads with Martz when they both were in Detroit. Are the Bears going to let their defensive line coach scuttle this hire?"

ESPN's Adam Schefter says former NFC West assistants Al Saunders and Jim Zorn are candidates to interview with the Ravens.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says former 49ers punter Tom Wittum, who passed away recently, still followed the team and attended games periodically.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee passes along comments from 49ers president Jed York. York on playing the Broncos in London: "It's a tough trip, and hopefully we'll be able to have an East Coast road game the week before and be able to cut that trip in half and have a 6-hour flight to London as opposed to a 12-hour flight from San Francisco, which I think the San Diego Chargers did a few years ago."

Scott Kegley of 49ers.com checks in with linebacker Patrick Willis and punter Andy Lee as both arrived at the Pro Bowl.

Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel checks in with new Seahawks general manager John Schneider, focusing on how the Packers will adjust without him. Ted Thompson, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey will pick up the slack. However, the Packers were admittedly a bit top-heavy after replacing former coach Mike Sherman, who had doubled as GM. Bedard: "McKenzie will become more involved with college scouting leading up to the draft, while Dorsey will be asked to contribute more to pro personnel during the season. Dorsey will deal more with agents, which was a major component of Schneider's duties. Also, Thompson will become more personally involved in trade talks. He often left McKenzie and Schneider to find deals and bring them to his attention."

John Morgan of Field Gulls links to an item with background information on new Seahawks strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says former Seahawks offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is the new quarterbacks coach for the Texans. McClain: "Knapp and new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison are replacing Kyle Shanahan. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Shanahan’s contract expired, and he went to Washington to become the offensive coordinator under his father, new Redskins coach Mike Shanahan."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times checks in with new Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., who wanted to coach in Seattle or San Francisco if he couldn't remain at USC. He is reunited with Lofa Tatupu. Norton: "Lofa has always been a very special guy to my heart. He was a guy I coached at USC, one of my first years at coaching. It was unfortunate to see him go down last year with the injury, but I'm expecting him to get this defense back to where it was before."

Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle says he thinks Kurt Warner will retire. Rolle: "Judging from conversations that I've had with him I think he understands that he's had a great, Hall of Fame career. I think football has taken its course. But he's the best teammate I've ever had. He's been a leader on and off the field." Warner has said he wants to feel good about retiring. Can he walk away and feel good about it? That is the key question.

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 passes along thoughts from Cardinals safety Hamza Abdullah, who played extensively in the divisional-round playoff game after Arizona lost Rolle to injury. Playing with Adrian Wilson was a highlight for Abdullah. Abdullah: "Oh, man, did I learn anything? I could talk to you about two or three hours just strictly on that. Adrian Wilson is a great safety, obviously. ... It's just a privilege. I really believe that God has blessed me to not only be with a great organization but to learn from a veteran like Adrian Wilson. To be honest with you, it doesn't get better than Adrian Wilson."

49ers mourn former punter's passing

January, 25, 2010
1/25/10
7:28
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Tom Wittum, one of four Pro Bowl punters in 49ers history, has passed away at age 60, the team announced.

Wittum, Tommy Davis and current punter Andy Lee each earned Pro Bowl honors twice as 49ers. Quarterback Frankie Albert, who also punted, was a one-time Pro Bowl choice for the team.

Wittum played for the 49ers under coaches Dick Nolan, Monte Clark and Ken Meyer.

"The San Francisco 49ers family is deeply saddened to announce that former two-time Pro Bowl punter Tom Wittum has passed at the age of 60," the team said. "He is survived by his wife, Cheryl, son, Matt, daughter, Krissy, step-daughter, Michelle, and step-son Michael."

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