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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers starting cornerback Tarell Brown has voided a $2 million escalator in his contract after he chose not to participate in the team's voluntary offseason program.
Brown said he didn't know about that clause in the deal and only learned of it via Twitter after practice Thursday. Brown then fired agent Brian Overstreet for the mistake.
If I would have known the clauses in my contract -- that's what agents get paid to do, to orchestrate the contract and to let you know what you can and can't do as far as workouts and OTAs and things of that sort.” -- 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown
Brown had been due to earn $2.925 million in salary for the 2013 season. The 28-year-old player, entering his contract year, worked out on his own this offseason -- something he said he routinely has done.
Had he known about the $2 million, he said, he would have done things differently.
"No one wants to leave money on the table," Brown said. "If I would have known the clauses in my contract -- that's what agents get paid to do, to orchestrate the contract and to let you know what you can and can't do as far as workouts and OTAs and things of that sort. That's what he got paid to do. He didn't do that, so in my opinion, you have to be let go. We all are held accountable for our actions. This is part of the business."
Brown was still in shock after the Niners' initial training camp practice, having known about the issue for only a matter of hours.
Brown said as soon as he read reports of his lost money, he contacted his agent and Overstreet reached out to the 49ers. Brown also spoke to the 49ers but said, "There wasn't too much I really could say."
"I tried to let my former agent talk to them and see what we could work out. It's part of the process," he said. "There's no love lost. For me, I always want to be a professional about everything I do. I think I've done that so far throughout my career and I'm going to keep doing that. It's an unfortunate situation. I'm going to take it in stride and get back. I'm going to learn from this. I've been through a lot in my life. This is just another test. The biggest thing for me is to get through it and let my family know the situation. We'll see where it goes from here."
A call and email to Overstreet weren't immediately returned Thursday evening.
Brown received a $7.125 million, three-year contract extension in late October 2009 that takes him through this season.
"Unfortunate situation. When you have somebody that advises you to do certain things and not knowing clauses in contracts, you put too much trust into people," Brown said. "That's what happened in this situation. It's something I've always done as far as offseason at home and training and getting myself in shape. It had nothing to do with not being in shape, not wanting to work out, no contract problems, it just had to do with me wanting to go back home and train. It's something I've been doing for the past few years."
A fifth-round draft pick in 2007 out of Texas, Brown became a regular starter in 2011 and has started all 32 games the past two seasons. He had 57 tackles and two interceptions last season as NFC champion San Francisco's top cornerback and was among the best in the league.
Brown said he plans to sit down with coach Jim Harbaugh to discuss matters. Whether he will work out any kind of compromise with the team over even a portion of that money, he wasn't sure.
"Hope for the best," he said. "Pray for me."