FA OLB LaBoy Visits 49ers

Free agent DE/OLB Travis LaBoy, who most recently played for the Arizona Cardinals in 2008, is visiting the 49ers complex at Santa Clara, CA today. He missed all of the 2009 season while rehabilitating his foot after major reconstructive surgery and he also suffered a torn bicep in the NFC Championship game two seasons ago.

LaBoy, who was drafted 42nd overall by the Titans in 2004 out of the University of Hawaii, has played only defensive end throughout his five year career with Tennessee and Arizona, but at 6'3 and 261 pounds, he's got the right frame to play outside linebacker for a 3-4 team such as the 49ers.

The Bay Area native (he went to high school in Marin County) was hoping the Niners would draft him six years ago so he could play near family and friends. "Not getting drafted by the 49ers in '04 - I was kind of mad," LaBoy said. "So every time I played the 49ers, I tried to really, like, destroy them."

In his only season for the Cardinals he played 13 games, starting 12, and had four sacks and a forced fumble. His best season was in 2007 for Tennessee, where he recorded six sacks and four forced fumbles. Back then LaBoy looked like an up-and-coming star, and consequently Arizona signed him to a five year, $22 million contract with a $7.5 million signing bonus. Looking back on it, it was a bad deal for Arizona.

The 49ers did show interest in LaBoy last off-season too, but realized that he wouldn't be ready to go in September, so they backed off. He's got visits lined up with the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots in the coming week.

San Francisco already has Manny Lawson, Parys Haralson and Ahmad Brooks in the fold at OLB, so it's clear that LaBoy would be a reserve if he were to indeed sign here. LaBoy said the players in front of him would not be a factor in his decision making. "Competition isn't an issue. I enjoy competition," he said. "I don't see a first-round draft pick or whoever it may be as someone who affects my decision."

LaBoy's got the right attitude, and he insists he's been fully healthy for four months, but I still can't imagine the 49ers offering him a big contract, either in terms of money or years. It remains to be seen if some other club will envision a bigger role for LaBoy, but it's quite likely that he would've signed on with someone by now if he was viewed as a difference-maker.

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