Lelie is gonna be le-gone

6’3″, 195 pounds, with good speed and hands. Former #19 pick overall in the 2002 draft by the Broncos. All time receiving yards, receiving TD’s, and receiving yards per catch leader, in the history of the Western Athletic Conference. Sounds like pretty good credentials eh? They of course belong to Niners wide out Ashley Lelie, who after signing with the Niners in 2007 for $4.3M for two years including a $2M signing bonus, has been nothing but a sideline incumbent. He has not played a snap in the Niners exhibition season nor participated in much of the training camp, due to injuries, and basically watched all the regular season action last year, even when healthy. Mike Nolan apparently decided early that Lelie was not his guy, and still didn’t give him much playing time, even though Darrell Jackson was routinely dropping passes.

Lelie has had a tumultuous career in both Denver and Atlanta, getting “into it” with the coaches and administration in both places. One speculates on what has really happened with the Niners, but it does appear he’ll be the odd man out when the Niners announce their WR’s on the final season opening roster. Isaac Bruce, Arnaz Battle, Bryant Johnson, Jason Hill and Josh Morgan are “locks”, and Dominique Zeigler, the 2007 free agent from Baylor should be the choice of over Lelie, if the Niners carry six WR’s. Might this mean it’s over for Lelie? He’s only 28 and it’s likely he will latch on with another franchise.  I was hoping Lelie would be able to really help the Niners when he was signed last year because I was never sold on Darrell Jackson, who now coincidentally is with the Denver Broncos where Lelie began his career. So, look for Lelie to be on the released list soon. Too bad I guess, but that’s life when you’re playing with the big boys.

MN

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