Niners sign Thomas as camp opens
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.”
Solomon Thomas walks toward the practice field Friday after signing a contract with the San Francisco 49ers.