Sports Out West

49ers’ Chris Culliver eyes starting role following rehab

chris culliver

Fresh off a torn left ACL, Chris Culliver looks like starting material.

 San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke told CSNBayArea.com on Monday:

 “(Culliver) looks real good, and he’s working awfully hard. He’s at the facility every day and doing extra, and really doing a nice job. He’s matured a lot, both on the field and off the field, and it’s fun to watch.”

Baalke’s assessment was a best-case scenario, since no one knew if Culliver could recover the 4.32 burst after crippling his knee in a special teams walk-through on August 1, 2013. The sense he’s maturing off the field is encouraging too, considering his words regarding gay teammates prior to Super Bowl XLVII.

Culliver is currently penciled in as one of the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks, next to Tramaine Brock. Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, San Francisco’s 2013 starting pair, are no longer with the club.

Since being drafted 80th overall in 2011, the 6-foot, 200-pound Culliver has played effectively in two seasons lacing the perimeter. But the college free safety will have his gloves full facing the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Percy Harvin and Tavon Austin full time, in addition to more responsibility in run support. His leash in the final year of his contract should be worth tracking, bearing in mind backups Eric Wright and Chris Cook share a combined 110 NFL starts.

Anyway, Culliver is dominating spring.

Photo Credit: Tim Dominick / Thestate.com

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and Radiosurvivor.com. He also owns the Theruination.net. Rui grew up an obsessive fan of the Sacramento Kings and Oakland Raiders, but he sympathizes with every West Coast team.