SANTA CLARA — He played, in his estimation, about eight snaps. He did nothing that is likely to make his career highlight reel when all is said and done. But former Santa Rosa JC player Jason Verrett passed a significant milestone Sunday, playing his first NFL game in the 49ers’ 21-7 victory over the San Diego Chargers.
Verrett played one season at SRJC before matriculating to TCU. He was the Chargers’ first-round draft pick in April, selected No. 25 overall. He had shoulder surgery in March and sat out San Diego’s first two preseason games before getting a taste of action against the Niners.
“It was fun,” Verrett said. “It was good to be out there and get your feet wet. . . . I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to next week.”
Verrett, who grew up in Fairfield, said about 40 of his supporters attended this game at Levi’s Stadium. Those who know him best insist that his size (he’s just 5-foot-10, 178 pounds) and tendency to get injured ultimately won’t hold him back. Sunday’s game, though low-key, helped propel Verrett.
“His name didn’t get called, so that’s good,” Chargers safety Eric Weddle said. “He’s a talented young kid that we expect big things out of. It’s good for him to get a feel for the game and be on the sidelines of an NFL game. Who’d ever thought he’d be playing in the NFL?”
MAN OF THE HOUR
Every exhibition game has its young standouts. Sunday’s up-and-comer was 49ers outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, a fifth-round draft choice out of South Florida who looks like he could be a steal.
Against the Chargers, Lynch tipped three passes at the line of scrimmage — one of which was intercepted by fellow rookie Jimmie Ward — sacked third-string quarterback Brad Sorensen and hit Sorensen’s arm another time, forcing an incompletion. That last play was very close to being a forced fumble and a touchdown return by Ward.
“He’s playing strong and he’s coming along, coming along pretty darn good,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Just making improvements every day, really. He’s learning and he’s listening, so that’s really encouraging. Got high hopes for him.”
Lynch, who is listed at 6-6 and 244 pounds but said he is currently at 276 after bulking up through spring and summer, has exceptionally long arms, and is putting them to good use against opposing passers.
“It definitely gives you a little boost,” Lynch said. “But at the same time, I’m not gonna change my preparation I’ve been doing since I’ve been here. I’m just gonna build on everything. And the more you build on everything, the better you can help out the team.”
NEVER TOO OLD TO WORRY
Phil Dawson has played 15 NFL seasons, 14 with the Cleveland Browns before signing with the 49ers last year. He has attempted 408 field goals, including playoffs. He is 39 years old, a true elder of the league.
So when he missed a pair of field goals to christen Levi’s Stadium in a loss against the Broncos last week, Dawson wasn’t at all worried. Was he?
“Absolutely,” he said Sunday. “It never gets old in this business. And people think you’ve done it so long. But I’m telling you, it’s preseason week No. 3 and I felt all the pressure in the world to come out and try to get some good experiences in this stadium. Because what happened last week was not what I wanted to have happen.”