Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Niners re-sign Spikes, ink QB Huard
SAN FRANCISCO -- Linebacker Takeo Spikes re-signed on Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers, who also signed veteran quarterback Damon Huard shortly after being spurned by Kurt Warner.
Spikes got a two-year deal reportedly worth $6 million to return to the 49ers, who signed him during the preseason last summer. The 11-year pro was a productive tackler and a valuable leader while playing alongside Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, finishing second on the roster with 96 tackles and making three interceptions.
Spikes was vocal about his wishes to remain with the 49ers after their 7-9 season, saying he sensed a turnaround for a franchise with six consecutive losing campaigns. He also was a strong supporter of Mike Singletary, the Hall of Fame linebacker who had the interim tag dropped from his coaching title after the season.
"Everybody can see that we're right on the edge of something special," Spikes said recently. "I definitely want to be a part of it."
The 49ers courted Warner on Monday during a lengthy meet-and-greet session at their Santa Clara training complex, but the two-time MVP accepted a two-year, $23 million deal from the Arizona Cardinals earlier Wednesday.
Huard is a 12-year pro best known for his lengthy backup stints behind Miami's Dan Marino and New England's Tom Brady. He started 13 games over the past two seasons with Kansas City, but never firmly claimed the Chiefs' starting job during five seasons with the club.
Kansas City released Huard last month. The 35-year-old's signing guarantees the 49ers will have at least two quarterbacks in uniform when they begin their first full team workouts in two weeks.
Shaun Hill, who led San Francisco to five wins in its final seven games, will be back to compete again for the starting job. Singletary hasn't backed Hill as his starter for next season despite Hill's 7-3 record as a starter over the past two years, with the coach saying the 49ers needed to explore several additional options at the position -- including Warner.
The 49ers apparently still are negotiating with former No. 1 draft pick Alex Smith, who must restructure his contract to reduce his $9 million base salary for next season before the club will allow him on the practice field. Smith, who has missed most of the past two seasons with arm injuries, has been out of town on his honeymoon, delaying the restructuring agreement.
General manager Scot McCloughan said last week that the chances of J.T. O'Sullivan's return were "50-50," but the journeyman quarterback who started the first eight games of last season likely is out of the 49ers' plans with Huard's signing.
Defensive lineman Demetric Evans visited the 49ers on Tuesday, but went back to Washington without signing a deal while he considers an offer to return to the Redskins.
The 49ers also have agreed to terms with kick returner Allen Rossum for another season, but haven't formally announced the deal yet.