Like anyone who loudly claims he pays no attention to the things said about him on the Internet, 49ers receiver A.J. Jenkins surely does.
How else would the first-round rookie who says “[t]here’s no point” for him to “go on the Internet and Google my name” be so aware of comments regarding his level of conditioning when he showed up for offseason workouts in May?
On Monday, after Jenkins reported for a week-long rookie camp, he said that he’s now achieved the proper level of conditioning.
“I’ve made long strides,” Jenkins said, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “Obviously, I had criticism when I first came in as far as being in shape. That’s irrelevant now. I’m just trying to help the team win, whether that’s playing special teams, offense or being a real good teammate.”
But he still doesn’t sound interested in taking up a former member of the team on an open offer to run a notorious training hill in San Carlos. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice wants Jenkins to do it, but Jenkins hasn’t even talked to Rice. Jenkins said Monday that “one day” he hopes to.
Possible translation? “I’m going to avoid that hill for as long as I can.”
Though in no danger of not making the team thanks to his round-one pedigree, Jenkins easily could fade into the background behind receivers like Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, and Mario Manningham. A motivated Kyle Williams could give Jenkins a run for his money for the fourth spot on the depth chart, as could former Jim Harbaugh pupil and fellow rookie Chris Owusu, who wasn’t drafted in large part because of his concussion history.
For now, Jenkins is talking a good game. “My mindset has really been a lot stronger since the first day of rookie minicamp,” Jenkins said. “From this day forward, all the way into January or February, it’s going to be a long season, and my mind is ready for it.”
He’d definitely be even more ready for it if he’d run that hill once or twice with Rice.