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-----BENGALS CUTS!!!!!!-----

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[quote][b]Niners linebacker tries to play nice[/b]

When Ahmad Brooks entered the NFL supplemental draft in 2006, the 49ers brought him out for a physical, and he thought he was going to wind up with them. The Bengals took him instead.

[b]He said his agent told him the 49ers were talking with the Bengals about a trade for him last week, but the teams couldn't agree on a deal.[/b]

It took awhile, but Brooks is finally a 49er. He went through his first practice with them Monday and, with the season opener five days away, is taking a crash course in their terminology from linebackers coach Mike Singletary.

Brooks, picked up after being waived by the Bengals on Saturday, is listed at 6-foot-3, 259 pounds, but he said his true weight is 265. He'll back up Patrick Willis at the weak-side inside position.

According to defensive end Justin Smith, who played with Brooks in Cincinnati, [b]he's an excellent pickup.[/b]

"In football, as long as you're a big guy (who) can run, you're going to find a place to play," Smith said. "It's just a matter of him getting the defense down and trying to help us right off the bat. He's definitely got a lot of athletic gifts."

He's also definitely got a lot of baggage. He was charged in May with misdemeanor assault for allegedly slugging a woman in the face during a neighborhood argument in northern Kentucky. He said he didn't want to discuss the case, other than to say, "I didn't do anything wrong, (but) I just made a dumb decision."

He said the charge has been expunged from his record but didn't go into the details. His agent, Greg Williams, couldn't be reached for comment, and the attorney for the woman did not return a phone call.

Nolan said he didn't think Brooks, 24, represented a character risk for the team. "I know enough of (the case) to know that we're willing to take the opportunity to see what he can do," Nolan said.

Brooks said Nolan "told me what he expected and gave me detailed rules. And I'm going to follow them."

The assault case wasn't the first time Brooks has been in trouble. He twice led Virginia in tackles, but coach Al Groh kicked him off the team in 2005 for disciplinary reasons, including an arrest for marijuana possession. Brooks acknowledged Monday that he had failed two drug tests in college.

His dismissal led to his entering the supplemental draft. Instead of being a potential first-round pick, he was considered damaged goods. Injuries had limited him to six games his junior year. His weight had ballooned to 290, although he later cut 20 pounds to try to impress NFL scouts.

"Everybody has to live through their teenage years and their early 20s," Brooks said. "I'm pretty sure a lot of people have done dumb things at that age."

As a rookie, Brooks started five games at middle linebacker, but was replaced when the Bengals thought he wasn't ready for the demanding role.

Last year, they converted him to outside linebacker, figuring his bulk and athleticism could neutralize tight ends and pulling guards. He struggled to learn the new position but opened the 2007 season with eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. In the next game, he sustained a season-ending groin injury and underwent surgery.

The injury is "still lingering a little bit," he said. "I wouldn't say I'm at 100 percent but I'm close to it." It was more painful, he said, to be cut by the Bengals, a move he called "devastating. You never think it's going to happen to you."


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[quote][size=3][b]Ahmad Brooks planning to capitalize on chance with San Francisco 49ers[/b][/size]
16 hours ago

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two positive drug tests derailed Ahmad Brooks' highlight-crammed college career at Virginia. The linebacker also thinks an accusation of bad off-season behaviour factored in the Cincinnati Bengals' decision to release him over the weekend.

But Brooks, who once leaped over the entire Virginia Tech line to make a sack that lives on in YouTube glory, has landed on his feet once more in San Francisco, even more determined to reach his lofty potential with the 49ers before he runs out of NFL chances.

"Everybody has to live through those teenage years and early 20s," the 24-year-old Brooks said Monday, still sweating after his first practice on the West Coast. "I'm pretty sure a lot of people have done dumb things at that age. ... Coach (Mike) Nolan, he told me what he expected out of me, pretty much gave me detailed rules. Since I've been in the NFL, I've been clean, so I'm all right."

Most NFL scouts thought Brooks was more than all right. At six-foot-three, he's among the taller linebackers in the league, yet he has speed and power superior to most guys his size, who often get typecast as defensive ends. That combination of bulk in motion still makes him irresistible to the 49ers, who claimed him off waivers Sunday despite Nolan's long-standing vow to avoid problem players.

"I do believe we have the structure and the manpower and the people in place that can allow us take on someone that we feel, with some assistance, we can do the right thing with," Nolan said, citing the team chaplain, the medical staff and several outside advisers. "We haven't taken on a whole lot of guys with some history things. But at the same time, the ones we have, we've been pretty successful with them."

The NFL's benches and practice squads are full of can't-miss college linebackers who missed in the pros, yet still hope to live up to the expectations of fans and teams who salivate over their physical gifts. Dontarrious Thomas is just such a player - but the 49ers waived him to make room for Brooks.

Brooks wasn't surprised to be snatched up by the 49ers, who scouted him extensively before Cincinnati picked him in the 2006 supplemental draft. He heard San Francisco even made a trade offer for him last week, but was rebuffed.

And the Niners weren't scared away by Brooks' history of problems at Virginia, ending in his dismissal from the team by coach Al Groh, Nolan's former boss with the New York Jets. Brooks dropped about 20 pounds between his departure from the Cavaliers and his first NFL season, and it wasn't all by design.

"I was in a depressed situation coming out of college," Brooks said. "I wasn't happy with the way things were going. I was supposed to be a top draft pick coming out of college, and everything was messed up, so I was just doing some things I shouldn't have been doing."

He did well early in Cincinnati, even starting five games as a rookie before losing his job when the coaching staff decided he didn't understand enough of the defence. Last season ended after just two games when he injured his groin, and his absence contributed to his loss in the training-camp battle between backup linebackers.

Brooks describes his release as "devastating. You never think it's going to happen to you, and when it does, it feels like your heart's been broken."

But Brooks also didn't help himself in April when he was accused of punching a woman in the face in northern Kentucky. He knows the trouble-plagued Bengals weren't pleased, even if the incident was quashed.

"I didn't do anything wrong," Brooks said. "I just made a dumb decision, I guess. It all worked out. I didn't get charged, I don't have anything on my record."

Now coached by Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, Brooks is likely to be the backup to Patrick Willis, the NFL's defensive rookie of the year and Pro Bowl selection. Willis is having exactly the career Brooks always imagined for himself, and he still thinks it's not too late to get it.

"You always want to prove something to yourself, first of all, (but) to your family and your coaches, because they helped you get to this point," Brooks said. "You want to make them proud, too."


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If you know you're going to cut the guy, why not take anything for him in a trade? From the sound of it, SF would have given us a 7th for Brooks. Better than nothing.

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