Nin­ers sign Thomas as camp opens

The Maui News - - SPORTS - By JOSH DUBOW The As­so­ci­ated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Solomon Thomas signed his con­tract and rushed to the locker room to throw on a jersey and cleats, then ran out to the field to join the rest of his San Fran­cisco 49ers team­mates at the first train­ing-camp prac­tice un­der coach Kyle Shana­han.

“It was amaz­ing to get out here and be here day one with my team,” Thomas said Fri­day. “I’m just very glad we got this done as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Thomas was able to pass the con­di­tion­ing test while his team­mates prac­ticed, then watched team drills in the fi­nal half of the ses­sion. He is ex­pected to jump right in to­day.

“We’ve seen Solomon. We’ve seen his work­outs and stuff. He’s a guy I be­lieve is in shape,” Shana­han said. “I ex­pect to see him out there to­mor­row.”

The de­fen­sive line­man out of Stan­ford, who got a four-year deal, was the No. 3 over­all pick in this year’s draft, one of the Nin­ers’ two first-rounders. The other, line­backer Reuben Foster, had signed pre­vi­ously and was cleared to go af­ter miss­ing pre­vi­ous off­sea­son work re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing his in­jured right shoul­der.

Foster made an im­me­di­ate im­pact on the first day of camp, in­ter­cept­ing a pass in a seven-on-seven drill.

“It was good to get him out there, get him on the field,” Shana­han said. “I know he’s been chomp­ing at the bit for a while now. It was good to see him go through it full speed, deal with get­ting aligned right and stuff.”

Thomas said he wasn’t wor­ried his ab­sence would be a long one. He said he didn’t get in­volved in de­tails of the ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween his agent and gen­eral man­ager John Lynch, and just waited to be told when the deal was done.

“I was not con­cerned at all,” Thomas said. “I trusted my agent. I hired him for a rea­son. He knew how fast I wanted to get out there. He knew that I wanted to be out there with the team. He knows I didn’t want to be by my­self for an­other month. I was go­ing to let him take care of ev­ery­thing. Both par­ties worked ex­tremely hard and got things done as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Thomas and Foster are part of a re­build­ing project — San Fran­cisco matched a fran­chise record with 14 losses last sea­son, which led to the fir­ing of coach Chip Kelly and gen­eral man­ager Trent Baalke. Lynch and Shana­han each have sixyear con­tracts, how­ever, and the Nin­ers ap­pear to have the sta­bil­ity that had been lack­ing in re­cent years — Jim Har­baugh was forced out in 2014 af­ter a four-year ten­ure, and Jim Tom­sula lasted just one sea­son be­fore be­ing re­placed by Kelly.

“You say that ev­ery year,” said of­fen­sive tackle Joe Sta­ley. “Ev­ery­body comes in at this time of year and say­ing those ex­act same things day one, ‘This is the year we’re do­ing it.’ I’ve said that the last three years. But I do feel dif­fer­ent about this year. It’s one thing to say it. But I feel con­fi­dent with the di­rec­tion the team is go­ing.”

AP photo

Solomon Thomas walks to­ward the prac­tice field Fri­day af­ter sign­ing a con­tract with the San Fran­cisco 49ers.

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