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Monday, May 22, 2006

QB Trent Dilfer Comes Home To San Francisco - Oakland Tribune

49ers fan as youth, Dilfer is in heaven

SANTA CLARA -- The timing could not have been better for Trent Dilfer.
Thursday night, the veteran quarterback and Aptos native was acquired by the San Francisco 49ers in a trade with the Cleveland Browns. Friday afternoon, the 34-year-old Dilfer watched his new team's first minicamp practice.

And Tuesday, he will host a golf tournament there to benefit the TD4HIM Foundation, which was set up following the death from a heart ailment in 2003 of his 5-year-old son, Trevin.

Back in his home base as a member of the team he followed when growing up, Dilfer was clearly elated.

"I always dreamed of being a 49er," Dilfer said. "This is a dream come true for me as a Bay Area guy."

The trade, for quarterback Ken Dorsey and a seventh-round draft choice, is contingent on Dilfer passing a physical. Dilfer is coming off a patellar-tendon injury last season that required surgery, and the 49ers are hoping he will be ready for action well before training camp begins in late July.

"I'm really starting to get healthy," said Dilfer, who hopes to participate in organized team activities at the end of the month. "In the last three weeks, I've made great strides."

Dilfer was acquired to give the 49ers an experienced backup for Alex Smith, and at least as importantly to serve as a mentor for the young quarterback.

"He's a guy I look to kind of pick up a lot of things from," Smith said.

Dilfer said he understands his role.

"The approach I take is whether I'm the starter or backup is to do whatever it takes to help the team win football games," Dilfer said. "I'll perform to the best of my ability, work my tail off and by doing that, I'll be a mentor to Alex Smith as a quarterback."

Coach Mike Nolan and personnel chief Scot McCloughan both said they are counting on Dilfer to be more than merely a tutor. "I'd like to think if something happens to Alex that he can perform, and perform at a high level," Nolan said.

McCloughan, who got to know Dilfer when both were in Seattle, added, "He's been through a lot, he's been through big-time success and big-time failure. You can't teach that. ... It gives another sounding board for people to talk to."

During his Seahawks days, part of Dilfer's role was as a mentor to Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He said he is looking forward to working with Smith.

"He's such a great kid, smart, a guy that's going to be able to digest information you give him and learn quickly from his mistakes and a guy that has some natural leadership skills," Dilfer said.

Dilfer is also glad on a personal level to be back home. The upcoming fundraiser will enable Aptos High to install artificial grass at its stadium, which will be renamed in honor of Trevin.

If things work out as he hopes, Dilfer's stay with the 49ers will be an extended one, "a nice ending to a satisfying career."
OUT OF ACTION: Several veterans are still recovering from injuries they suffered last season.

Running backs Frank Gore (both shoulders) and Kevan Barlow (knee), and left tackle Jonas Jennings participated in individual drills but not team activities. Nolan is hoping they will be available for organized team activities.

Safety Tony Parrish (broken leg), however, could be ready for OTA, though possibly will have to wait until the start of training camp to get back on the field. Receiver Derrick Hamilton, nearly a year removed from his injury, is still "a little while" from being ready, Nolan said.


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