SANTA CLARA, Calif. – San Francisco 49ers safety Reggie Smith goes back a long way with St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. And he’s happy to tell you about it.
In high school, before they became teammates at the University of Oklahoma, Smith and Bradford opposed each other on their respective football teams. Asked if he ever intercepted Bradford in those games, Smith smiled.
“I think once or twice,” he said.
The Bradford he remembered back then is not the same player who grew into the No. 1 overall draft pick last April, Smith said.
“Coming out of high school, he was just another guy,” Smith said. “Then we got to college at OU together and he started blossoming. He’s a great athlete, but I didn’t think he would that great Heisman-type guy. All the props in the world. I love the guy.”
Smith will be on the field more in the second half of the season, coach Mike Singletary said, in part to give rookie starter Taylor Mays more of a break. Mays has been playing most snaps and is also a regular on special teams.
“Reggie is just a guy that’s been steady,” Singletary said. “He continues to make progress. He knows what he has to do and he’s going to get the opportunity to play a little more. We’ll see how it goes.”
Smith, who has four tackles this season, has played mostly special teams this season. He said he’s still not sure if his increased role will be on third downs or base.
“I can’t tell you exactly,” he said. “We haven’t discussed it. I’ve been told it’s to give Taylor a little bit of rest. He’s been running all defense and every special teams, so he’s kind of tired out there.”
Sunday, when the 49ers play the Rams, Smith will at least know that his former Sooners teammate remembers that he was intercepted by Smith in high school.
“Yeah, he actually did,” Bradford said. “As much as I hate to admit it, he did.”
NOTES: Offensive tackle Xavier Fulton was signed to the 49ers practice squad, taking the place of tackle Matt Kopa, who was signed this week by the Miami Dolphins. Fulton was a fifth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009 and spent the season on the injured reserve list. … Quarterback Alex Smith did not take part in practice Wednesday, making it even more likely he won’t play Sunday. Cornerback Nate Clements (ankle) was a limited participant. … Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said it’s possible that former 49ers safety Michael Lewis will dress for the game. Smith asked for and was given his release by the Niners on Oct. 4 after being told his playing time would be reduced.