Around the NFC West: Jackson's gambit

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams running back Steven Jackson is taking a big risk by holding out past Tuesday. Thomas previously reported that Jackson needed to show up no later than 30 days before the Rams' regular-season opener to receive credit for the final season of his contract. This new story says Jackson, demanding a new deal as he enters the final year of his contract, must show up within 30 days of the NFL's regular-season opener, which makes the deadline today, not the previously reported Aug. 8.

Discussions of such matters invariably explain what players must do to earn "accrued seasons" toward free agency. Jackson's contract expires after the 2008 season; he needs one accrued season to become an unrestricted free agent.

An NFLPA memo dated June 10 says: "Players earn an Accrued Season for any season in which they are on full pay status for at least six regular season games."

But wait. The collective bargaining agreement reads: "A player shall not receive an Accrued Season for any League Year in which the player is under contract to a Club and in which he failed to report to such Club at least thirty days prior to the first regular season game of that season ..."

We have not heard the end of this one. ...

Also from Thomas: A look at how Rams quarterback Marc Bulger is learning Al Saunders' offense, right down to the tests Bulger received via FedEx earlier in the offseason.

Matt Maiocco of Instant 49ers provides the transcript to a fantastic interview with right tackle Jonas Jennings. Maiocco also turned the interview into a story for the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. Jennings isn't happy about moving from left tackle to right tackle. He doesn't have anything nice to say about coach Mike Nolan, describing their relationship as one of necessity (Nolan as coach, Jennings as player). Jennings also takes issue with how people portray him. Winning makes a lot of things better, but the 49ers haven't won enough.

Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer gets into what Chris Gray has meant for the Seahawks. Mike Holmgren and Lofa Tatupu offered kind words. Clare and I were standing along the sideline at practice on July 26 when Gray, in obvious pain, walked past us toward the locker room. He was walking with his back angled awkwardly. The look on his face suggested wooziness, as if Gray had been involved in a collision. All he had done was hit a blocking sled. We had no idea at the time that Gray's career was finished. Gray had no idea. As Holmgren said, the sudden ending comes as a shock.

The 49ers' coaching staff has released a tentative depth chart showing rookie Josh Morgan buried behind Bryant Johnson, Jason Hill and Ashley Lelie at one receiver spot. Isaac Bruce is the other starting receiver. The depth chart shows Alex Smith, Shaun Hill and J.T. O'Sullivan as the starting quarterback. A referee would see this as 13 men on the field. The depth chart also shows the injured Mark Roman ahead of Dashon Goldson at the free safety spot. Jeff Ulbrich is the starting "Ted" linebacker. Fullback Moran Norris is ahead of Zak Keasey. As I've said before, stuff this one under the mattress. Do not take it to the bank.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle quotes 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz as saying Cam Colvin has emerged, unexpectedly, as a receiver to watch in camp. Colvin caught six passes practicing against the Raiders.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee quotes 49ers tight end Vernon Davis celebrating the human race's inability to cover him. Davis averaged 9.8 yards per reception last season. That ranked tied for 210th in the NFL.