NFL Lockout keeps locals in top shape

FRESNO, Calif.

"We've been hearing that [the lockout] might end sometime soon," said free agent cornerback Richard Marshall. "So we have a sense of urgency. We've been running, getting ready for the season."

"With all this uncertainty it's very difficult," said undrafted free agent quarterback Ryan Colburn. "You just have to keep picking your emotions back up to come in every week and prepare and work out hard, and just to be ready at all times."

Colburn is just one of hundreds of undrafted free agents looking for an opportunity when the lockout ends.

"That's what I'm really looking forward to: Showing the different teams my abilities," said undrafted free agent tight end Dean Rogers, a Redwood high school graduate. "That's really what I've got to wait for."

"If you're going to play football at that level you gotta be in shape," said undrafted free agent defensive lineman Chris Lewis. "The lockout could end as soon as this week so you've just gotta be ready to play."

The same goes for established free agents like Marshall and Steven Spach. They know what it takes to make it in the League, but still have to play the waiting game to join a new team.

"You can't really simulate training camp," said Spach, a free agent tight end. "You can't really simulate football. But you can do your best and you can be in really great shape. And I think that's what everyone wants to do right now."

And with a trainer like former Bulldog Strength and Conditioning Coach Steve Sabonya personally mapping out the workouts, the players know they will be in the best physical shape possible.

"We've all been pretty much doing the same workouts that Steve has given us," said 49ers offensive lineman Nick Howell, a Bullard High School graduate. "We've been in shape the entire time. So we're doing a little bit extra right now for crunch time."

"Those guys know it's kind of go time now," said Sabonya. "They don't miss. They're never late. And they're teaching the young pups to get ready too."

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