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Asked during his post-practice press conference if Gonzalez looked okay, the coach replied: "We gave him very limited reps today. Jason Dunn is a man. Jason took all of his reps, most of Tony’s reps and then worked on the scout team. That guy is a man."
Asked if Gonzalez will hit the field against the Chargers this Sunday, Vermeil said: "Planning on it."
This one still seems a tad dicey -- despite the very positive company line emanating from team headquarters this week. Stay tuned for more as the week progresses. ...
Also of interest. ...
As reported by Associated Press sports writer Doug Tucker, Priest Holmes, who has led the NFL in yards from scrimmage the past two seasons, agreed to a four-year contract extension on Wednesday.
Holmes had indicated he might not play in the season opener on Sunday if a new deal was not worked out.
When asked if he would now be paid as the best running back in football, Holmes smiled and said, "Let's just say that I am a happy man."
He had been scheduled to make a base salary of about $2.5 million in each of the three years remaining on his contract -- unquestionably below market value for a player who had 4,440 yards from scrimmage the past two seasons and was selected the NFL's most valuable offensive player for 2002.
He missed the last two games of last season with a hip injury that required surgery in February. But general manager Carl Peterson said Wednesday he was satisfied the hip had fully healed.
Despite the holdout threat, Vermeil maintains his star halfback has been all business on the practice field this week.
"I really think Priest has responded all week as if he’s getting ready to play the San Diego Chargers, not sign a contract," Vermeil said.
According to observers, Holmes looked physically sharp and mentally focused in Monday's practice.
As for the situation behind Holmes. ...
Vermeil confirmed on Wednesday that Derrick Blaylock remains the top backup.
"Blaylock has really improved," the coach explained. "He’s more than paid his dues. He’s either our number two or number three best special teams player and he’s very trustworthy in pass protection. Unlike colleges, we might have 18 different pass protections in the game plan. Everyone can go to the board and tell you who to hit, but all of sudden, things start flying, you can’t afford to allow someone who might be mistake-prone play until they grow into it."
Asked specifically if rookie Larry Johnson will be active this Sunday, Vermeil said: "Questionable. It’s hard to suit up five backs."
One last item here. ... Dante Hall, listed as probable with a sore finger, practiced at full speed Wednesday and early indications are he'll be ready to go Sunday.