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SANTA CLARA ? The 49ers will keep an eye Sunday on safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, the St. Louis Rams? best defender.

Atogwe has a knack of making big plays, with 18 interceptions and 16 forced fumbles since breaking into the league as a third-round draft pick from Stanford in 2005. Yes, 49ers coach Mike Singletary knows all about him.

?I know him because he dates my daughter,? Singletary said Friday.

Atogwe is dating Singletary?s second-oldest daughter, Jill, who is playing volleyball this season at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Jill Singletary attended Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, where she met Atogwe, Mike Singletary said.

Atogwe attended Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University, in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, as part of the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program in March.

Jill accepted an offer from former 49ers tight end Jamie Williams, the athletic director of Academy of Art, to resume her volleyball career this season.

?He?s a gentleman,? Mike Singletary said. ?He?s been to my home several times. We?ve had conversations ? not about football, but about life. He?s a quality individual. That?s what I know about him.?

Atogwe is playing this season with a one-year contract as the Rams? franchise player. He is scheduled for free agency at the end of the year.

SMITH FINED FOR HIT ON FAVRE

Defensive lineman Justin Smith was fined $5,000 for his hit on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre that drew a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. Smith was fined for ?striking the quarterback in the knee area,? the NFL said. The onus is on defensive players, even if they?re on the ground, to get up and hit a quarterback above the knee. Just call it the Tom Brady Rule.

However, Smith said he did hit Favre above the knee, and that the film review confirmed it. He said he plans to appeal the fine.

?The thing that made me mad was it cost us 15 yards,? Smith said. ?That, and the penalty on (Shawntae Spencer) hurt us a bunch. . . . I thought I hit him in the thigh. Any time you get around the quarterback?s knee, the way the owners put the rule in, I believe, is to protect the guy where they have all their money.?

Spencer was not fined for his questionable taunting penalty, which came later on that drive and led to a Vikings field goal.

EXTRA POINTS

Former Cal star Kyle Boller will get his first start with the Rams, as quarterback Marc Bulger remains out with a right shoulder injury.

Singletary did not divulge the team?s plan with receivers Brandon Jones and Jason Hill. ?Either can be up or both of them,? Singletary said.

Neither Jones nor Hill has suited up for a game this year.

Adam Snyder and Tony Pashos are both expected to see playing time at right tackle again. But Singletary said Snyder will likely play more in the future, as he?s ?doing what he has to do.?

Running back Frank Gore (ankle/foot) and safety Reggie Smith (groin) have been ruled out.

Guard David Baas (ankle), tight end Vernon Davis (shin), Snyder (thumb), Spencer (shoulder), linebacker Takeo Spikes (shin), tackle Joe Staley (thigh) and linebacker Jeff Ulbrich (thigh) all practiced and are expected to be available for Sunday?s game.

For more on the 49ers, go to Instant 49ers at http://blog.press

democrat.com/49ers. You can reach Staff Writer Matt Maiocco via email at matt.maiocco@press

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