Ex-Seahawk Harper has new role in San Francisco

McClatchy news servicesSeptember 4, 2013 

Former Seattle Seahawks rookie Chris Harper was given a wide receiver’s number — 13 — by the 49ers on Tuesday, but he confirmed that he will have a multifaceted, Delanie Walker-like role in San Francisco.

Harper was drafted by Seattle as a wide receiver out of Kansas State after he began his college career as a quarterback at Oregon.

However, he has never played tight end, so he received a crash course during his first practice with the 49ers on Tuesday.

“I’ve never gotten in a three-point stance before, so that’s going to be different for me,” Harper said from in front of his locker.

Harper, at 232 pounds, is slightly lighter than Walker, a former 49ers tight end who was signed by Tennessee as a free agent this offseason. Both mostly played wideout in college and were known as physical pass catchers.

Harper said he already was somewhat familiar with Walker, whom 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh once called a “Swiss Army knife,” and he watched game film of Walker after being signed by the 49ers.

“They put him all over the field,” Harper said. “And he’s a great athlete. You can see that on film. … He’s a big guy that can run.”

Harper was drafted in the fourth round this year by the Seahawks. But he was outperformed by former Washington Husky Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams and didn’t make the final roster. When Seattle put Harper on its practice squad, the 49ers signed him.

Harper said the Seahawks tried to persuade him to stay by bumping up his practice-squad salary. But the 49ers offered a better opportunity to get on the field, albeit one outside of his comfort zone.

Asked whether he was a good blocker, Harper said, “I thought I was a great blocker … as a receiver. But now I’ve got to block dudes like Aldon (Smith) and Patrick (Willis). So we’ll see.”

EXTRA POINTS

Former University of Washington and Bethel High School player Caesar Rayford, a defensive end, was traded from the Colts to the Cowboys. He has played in the Canadian Football League and Arena League since his career at UW (2004-07). … The Cowboys agreed to terms with free agent Brian Waters, a six-time Pro Bowl guard. … Texans linebacker Brian Cushing signed a six-year contract extension. … Guard Danny Watkins, a former first-round draft pick, signed with the Dolphins after being cut by the Eagles. … The Falcons signed veteran offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood. … The Browns (Billy Cundiff) and Bills (Dan Carpenter) filled their vacant placekicker positions by signing veterans.

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