Wednesday, June 04, 2008

San Jose Mercury News: Undrafted receiver from Cal gets chance

Battle's absence has domino effect

By Daniel Brown

Before fielding questions from reporters Tuesday, 49ers Coach Mike Nolan cautioned that he wasn't going "to talk about anyone that's not here."  That was a not-so-veiled reference to receiver Arnaz Battle, who is skipping the team's voluntary practices this week for unspecified reasons. Battle is instead working out at his home in Dallas.  Nolan made it clear, though, that Battle's absence is a gain for the other receivers competing for playing time. He mentioned returning players Ashley Lelie and Jason Hill, as well as rookies Josh Morgan and Robert Jordan.

Jordan, an undrafted free agent from Cal, is happy about the expanded opportunity. He recalled that he got only one play (a comeback route) during three days of mini-camp last month.  Now Jordan is on the field enough to get a feel for offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system. "It's a lot like Coach Tedford's offense," Jordan said, referring to his coach at Cal. "The formations are different, but a lot of the concepts are the same."

Jordan, 5-foot-11, 171 pounds, is the cousin of former Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, now with the Buffalo Bills. Jordan ranks among the Bears' all-time leaders in catches (seventh, with 156), receiving yards (ninth, with 2,047) and receiving touchdowns (ninth, with 13). He also set a Bears record by making catches in 42 consecutive games.  Now, like other receivers, he is trying to make the most of a door left open a little wider by Battle's absence.

As Nolan said: "We do have a (new) offense going in, and all the guys here are benefiting from that. It's a great opportunity. Some of the guys who would not typically get a look are getting a look right now."

Read the rest here.


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