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Walt Harris suffers ACL injury; likely out for 2009 season

Thanks to Swift Kick in the Goc for getting this up in the FanShots.  I wanted to open this up as a full post to get people's thoughts and ideas on the cornerback position.  As many have already heard, the 49ers announced that Walt Harris suffered "an ACL injury" during practice yesterday.

Harris will undergo surgery and technically the 49ers didn't announce how much time Harris would miss.  However, as Maiocco stated, Harris is probably done for the season.  Consider the type of injury and Harris's age, I'd certainly be surprised if he made it back this season.

It's certainly fitting that we took a look at the cornerback position this morning.  The team was already rather thin at cornerback, and the loss of Harris leaves them waaaay too thin.  At this point Tarell Brown is the #2 starter with Spencer and Marcus Hudson sitting behind him. 

The 49ers will be signing a corner at some point, but it's a question of what angle they take on the signing.  Do you go with a veteran for depth, or do you hope you can find a starter?  Personally, I hope Tarell Brown can win the starting job at this point. 

Mike Sando listed some of the free agent options still out there.  We've got a lengthy list that includes:

Rod Hood, Chris McAlister, Terry Cousin, Kenny Wright, Pacman Jones, Dre' Bly, Travis Fisher, Brian Kelly, Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison, David Barrett, Deltha O'Neal, Jason Craft, Fakhir Brown, Ty Law, Ricky Manning, Reynaldo Hill, R.W. McQuarters, Jamar Fletcher and Aaron Glenn.

It's a mix of relatively young and relatively old.  At some point in the next couple days I'll put together a run-down of the various free agent corners.  In the meantime, initial thoughts?

FOOCH'S NOTE: Right after I posted this I received a transcript of Tarell Brown's post-practice media session.  I don't think he knew the full extent of Walt Harris's injury at this point (or was covering for it).  Either way, it's good timing. I've posted it after the jump.

CB Tarell Brown
Post Practice, 05-20-09
San Francisco 49ers


On his role this season:
“Yeah, most definitely. I always see myself as a starter. I’m going to work every day like I’m a starter. Just work to push the guys and just work to get better every day.”

On if he feels comfortable with his role on the defense:
“Most definitely. I’m coming into my third year. I know the scheme like the back of my hand. I’m comfortable in this stuff. I can make plays. I feel like I’m one of the most athletic players on the football field, every time I step onto the field. I have no doubt in my mind that I have the confidence to go out there and make plays.”

On the strides he’s made since his rookie season:
“I think with film watching, understanding the offensive schemes, learning pass concepts, staying extra with the coaches, with Nate [Clements] and the older guys helping me try to learn pass patterns and stuff like that, it definitely helps me out a lot.”

On the adjustment from slot/nickel to starting cornerback:
“It’s pretty much the same thing. We just do a little stuff different here and there. I feel like I’m a playmaker regardless. They wouldn’t have brought me here if they didn’t want me to play. I have confidence in myself to go out there and make plays and that’s all I’m going to do.”

On his condition at the rookie mini-camp and what he participated in:
“Yeah I did some stuff. We were just there to help the younger guys out, but nothing was nagging me really.”

On his physical condition:
“Physically, I’m great, tip-top shape. You can’t see the muscles. I’m hiding it under the big T-shirt.”

On Michael Crabtree:
“I’m always excited to guard anybody, especially a guy being from Texas and the Dallas area. I can’t wait for him to get out there. I know he’s a great player, watching him do his thing in college. I’m excited to guard anybody. The guys we have right now have great tools, so I think he makes us better and we make him better every day.”

On Walt Harris’s condition:
“He’s doing real good. Just icing his knee, he had a little tweak, he’ll be fine.”

On Jerry Rice’s address to the team:
“It’s amazing to get the opportunity to stand on the same field with a Hall of Famer, which we do every day with Coach Singletary and a lot of other guys on our team who can probably be Hall of Famers in years to come. But, just to get the opportunity to see him and somebody I’ve always watched as a child growing up, him going against Deion [Sanders] and the Cowboys and the 49ers, or the Bears and the 49ers. It’s definitely a blessing. Any time he can come out here and give me some tips, I’m willing to learn. I want to learn the tricks of the trade.”

On what stood out most from Jerry Rice’s speech:
“Pretty much practice habits. Going out here every day busting it. Giving it your all, because you never know when this game will be over for you. You never know when your last play will be. So, for me and all the other guys, we just try to go hard every day like it’s our last and take it for what it’s worth.”

On how he thinks he would fare and what his strategy would be against Jerry Rice in his prime and:
“Well, I would have to watch film on him first. I would have to get my game plan schemes with him first. I definitely see an amazing work ethic. I definitely see him getting in and out of his breaks pretty quick. He wasn’t a blazer, like crazy fast, but he could get on top of you pretty good. So, I would sit on a couple of his routes, believing that I could get over top. But, that’s something that you would have to game plan, have to watch. I wouldn’t shy away from competition.  I feel like any time you get an opportunity to step on the field, you have got to make the most of it. For a corner, you’ve got to have that swagger that you can play against anybody and you can beat anybody. You might give up one, but best believe I’m coming back to take two. That’s my mindset.”

On whether he thinks he can get to the level of play to match the Arizona Cardinals receivers or guys like Torry Holt:
“I’ve always watched and admired their game, as far as watching on film and studying. But, I feel like I can play with any of them. Those are bigger guys, and stronger guys, don’t let the shirt fool you. I’m kind of thick under here too. I can push a little weight.”

On whether he thinks he’s the most athletic guy on the team:
“Yeah, most definitely.”

On what makes him think that:
“Move. My quickness, my speed in and out of breaks. Agility. Just the way I move. Changing direction. I can hit top-end speed pretty quick. I bet every guy feels like that. To be a good football player you have got to have confidence in yourself. Not arrogance, but confidence. But, I definitely feel like the most athletic guy on the squad.”

On where confidence ends and arrogance begins:
“Confidence, for me, I just step on the field with confidence. After that, once I take the pads off, take the helmet off, I’m back to a laid-back guy. When you step on the field, you have got to have that little swagger about yourself, knowing that its time to work because I’ve put in hard work in the offseason. I’ve put in extra time running. I’ve put in extra time doing handwork drills, and ball drills, and footwork drills. So, I definitely have that confidence that I can be one of the better people.”

On whether a little bit of swagger is needed to play the cornerback position:
“Yeah, most definitely. Because you’re by yourself a lot and you get lonely. You’ve got to entertain yourself a little bit. Me and Nate [Clements] entertain ourselves a lot. Us corners, we try to strive to be perfect every day, and for us to do that, for us to get where we want to as a defense, we’ve got to strive to be perfect every day. And that’s where we’re getting to.”

On what happened between he and Trent Dilfer two years ago:
“We’re teammates. It was never anything personal. We’re teammates. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, — it’s like brothers. Brothers get into it sometimes. That’s my brother. We got into it for little second.”

On what he feels when Trent Dilfer comes around the practice facility now:
“It’s all love. It’s all love. We’re brothers. As a teammate, you’re going to get into it with your brother, but at the end of the day, once you step off the field, we know that it’s love and it’s just the competiveness in us that makes us go at it like that. He knows that he really cares, and he knows that I really care, that we were going into it like that.”