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The 49ers keep finding players in unusual ways

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The 49ers have become known for being thorough and taking chances in the scouting process, taking fliers on injured guys and English discus throwers.

But sometimes they find people by accident.

Via Matt Maiocco of, the 49ers are giving a tryout this weekend to a guy General Manager Trent Baalke found while traveling to see his daughter play basketball.

Baalke went to see his daughter Cassie play at Minnesota’s Bemidji State in February, and ended up talking to Zach Noreen, a forward on the men’s team.

The conversation turned to football, and the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Noreen apparently made an impression, because they offered him a chance to try out at their rookie minicamp this weekend.

He said he hasn’t played in a football game since 2009.

“I ended on a good note,” Noreen said. “My last catch was a touchdown.”

Noreen averaged 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds a game for the (googles Bemidji State) Beavers.

He might not have much of a chance, but he’s probably worth as much of a look as Jerry Rice Jr., who’ll also be in camp this weekend.

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27 Responses to “The 49ers keep finding players in unusual ways”
  1. squirrelthomas says: May 22, 2014 12:35 PM

    What’s his criminal history though? Not sure SF will have genuine interest if clean.

  2. thestrategyexpert says: May 22, 2014 12:38 PM

    That’s great Trent but have you found any good long-term HC candidates for the team yet?

  3. doctorrustbelt says: May 22, 2014 12:39 PM

    Congratulations on signing a guy whose athleticism is so great that he played for a school that nobody has ever heard of.

  4. romo2witten says: May 22, 2014 12:44 PM

    Imagine if Jerry Jones made this move. The outrage would be off the charts.

  5. fcoprado says: May 22, 2014 12:50 PM

    Its called desperation, trying to catch up to Seattle

  6. sportsnut1197 says: May 22, 2014 12:52 PM

    All that means is he may not have had the grades for a bigger school. And no one knows so dont speculate. Maybe he wanted to be close to his family. And i care less im not a niners fan but yhis could be a good story.

  7. weepingjebus says: May 22, 2014 12:53 PM

    The Niners are like a crazy cat lady, but for football players.

  8. facebookuser111 says: May 22, 2014 12:54 PM

    They found that one player asleep at the wheel against a tree, how did he turn out?

  9. calicokiller49 says: May 22, 2014 12:55 PM

    niners must be doing something right, first 3 comments were haters

  10. mexxx27 says: May 22, 2014 12:56 PM

    It looks like Santa Clara is getting desperate.

  11. juliusanonymous says: May 22, 2014 1:24 PM

    “I ended on a good note,” Noreen said. “My last catch was a touchdown.”

    Crabtree wishes he could say the same thing.


  12. 4evrnyt says: May 22, 2014 1:26 PM

    He has a waaayyy better chance then Jerry Rice Jr. who’s total college career consisted of 19 catches for 142 yards and 1 TD.

  13. 4thquartermagic says: May 22, 2014 1:29 PM

    Everyone here should be rooting for this dude.

    We all wish this could happen to us.

    Pretty cool.

  14. dumdolt says: May 22, 2014 1:32 PM


  15. russellwilsonatemyhomework says: May 22, 2014 1:33 PM

    Is he Above Reproach?

  16. that's the best linebacker i've seen since Joe Montana says: May 22, 2014 1:40 PM

    Could be the next Jimmy Graham?

  17. jmc8888 says: May 22, 2014 1:45 PM

    Umm, they didn’t ‘find’ a player.

    What Baalke did was see someone and offer them a tryout.

    There’s a big difference between randomly offering a tryout to a guy who hasn’t played football for 5 years…and finding a player.

    Any GM can walk around and see a big guy and offer them a tryout.

    Now if this guy actually makes the team…or better yet, becomes a starter, then you can say the 49ers keep finding players in unusual ways.

    Right now it’s just a GM who isn’t afraid to sign complete unknowns to a tryout.

  18. savilo831 says: May 22, 2014 2:03 PM

    Lol. I love the fact that the haters come out in droves when it comes to the 49ERS. This team is LOADED with talent and all this criminal talk is ridiculous.

  19. jjackwagon says: May 22, 2014 2:09 PM

    BTW 9er fans, how did the Baldwin trade work out? As I recall, you guys were talking about how he was going to tear up the league last year.

  20. hawkthunder says: May 22, 2014 2:09 PM

    I’m worried about the Cards!

  21. drgreenstreak says: May 22, 2014 2:38 PM

    That’s nuthin’. Pete Carroll is bringing in Richard Sherman to reorganize the front office to reflect the intellect of a 20-cup-a-day Starbucker.

  22. juliusanonymous says: May 22, 2014 2:41 PM

    Why would the 49ers have any haters?

    As long as Kaepernick is behind center, giving away the ball on every late possession and making terrible reads/throws, they’re not a serious threat to anyone.

    It’s hard to “hate” the perpetual runner-up.



  23. dumdolt says: May 22, 2014 2:53 PM

    Never to be one up’d, the Vikings went out and signed Cassie Baalke. #skooled

  24. omeimontis says: May 22, 2014 3:30 PM

    One thing about basketball players is that they can (usually) leap and they have good hands. Rick Barry is the rare exception when it comes to leaping ability. LOL

    Catching a basketball, however, is a lot different than catching Kap’s cannon ball. However, if he can leap, they may use him in short yardage situations against Richard Sherman. He does not have to get open, just go down far enough and play jump ball.

  25. howthenfcwestwaswon says: May 22, 2014 6:45 PM

    Can he play QB?

  26. bcniner says: May 23, 2014 12:19 AM

    Niners have the most talented roster in the League. Their draft was Another display of dominance. Seahawks had worst draft in NFC West.


  27. rick359 says: May 23, 2014 6:52 PM

    I’m sure the 49ers will do well this year, they may even make the playoffs!

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