SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Most of the 180 players on the field in Baltimore Thursday evening will be competing for a roster spot as the 49ers meet the Ravens in their first preseason game Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on KPIX 5.

“That’s the fun thing,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “You get to see these guys that are fighting for jobs, guys that were back-ups last year, guys that were practice squad players last year, guys that didn’t make it last year — plus all this year’s class, this year’s draft class, free agency class. You just kind of see is there anyone there playing that is going to fit in with the team this year and at some point help them.”

Among the hopefuls are players who are coming back from injury.

“For a lot of organizations, the injury red flag goes up and they won’t touch him,” Madden said. “If you’re willing to take a guy that is injured, pay him a full salary and then hope that his injury gets better and that he become the same player that he was before he was injured, that’s a long shot… There have been successes with teams that have done that. But there’s also been a lot more failures.”

Madden said the field will be crowded before the game. “You try and fit 180 players on the field in a pregame warm-up and you got balls flying all over. Kickers all think they have to kick and they’re kicking the ball and balls are bouncing off guys’ heads. That’s the biggest mess you ever have in pro football… Then you have 30 coaches or so and probably another 20 suits. The field’s not big enough. They don’t stretch the field for those guys.” (6:40)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.


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