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Nose tackle rebounds from rejection to find spot with 49ers

SANTA CLARA — As devastated as Ian Williams felt two years ago when he went undrafted out of Notre Dame, he can now look back on that moment and realize how much the rejection meant to his career.

He landed with the San Francisco 49ers, and is the leading candidate to win the starting nose tackle job for the NFC champions as he begins his third NFL season.

"It hurt, but looking back at it, it was probably the best situation that could have ever happened," Williams said after a recent practice. "I was a young kid, expecting this, expecting that. It kind of put me back to my place, and coming here and getting back to work really propelled me to where I am now.

"I lost sight of the goal that I set. Drastic things usually get you back on track."

The expectations for Williams are high heading into the team's exhibition opener Thursday night at home in Candlestick Park against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

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