New San Francisco 49’ers wide out Ashley Lelie is not exactly making a great first impression on his team and teammates according to sources. Lelie was and still is expected to be a quality wide receiver for the 49’ers, one that could come in and stretch the field and make the once in awhile big play. So far though, the team has had to endure Lelie being hurt more than once, and now from the words of coach Mike Nolan, he really hasn’t given much thought as to how the receiver will play in this years San Fran offense.
“I really haven’t thought about him that much,” said Nolan to Dennis Georgatos of InsideTheBayArea.com. “The guys that have been practicing, even the guys that are new and may be a long shot, at least you think about them a little bit. But when the guy hasn’t set foot on the field, it’s out of sight, out of mind, from my standpoint.” The injuries to Lelie began when he strained his right quad on the first day of a May mini-camp. Then on June 4th he was back on the field, only to almost right away reinjure the hamstring.
San Francisco paid Lelie $4.3 million over two years to join their squad. While they are willing to let him get healthy, the more he is not on the field, the worse it is going to look to his new coach and the rest of his team. From Lelie’s point of view, he says that he will be back when the team opens training camp on July 29th. “I think I might have come back a little too early. I don’t want to make that same mistake. I want to make sure I can go full speed,” Lelie said.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Lelie has seen his numbers drop for the past two seasons after having over 1,000 yards with Denver back in 2004. He then had 770 yards and just one TD in 2005, and after a nasty back and forth with the Broncos, was shipped to Atlanta last season where he caught just 28 passes for 430 yards and 1 TD. If he wants to be a big part of the up and coming 49’ers, he’d better do all he can to get back on the field, and in a hurry.