Brandon Lloyd is saying all the right things, has a nice resume and appears eager to prove himself once again.
But how much impact can the 49ers’ newest wide receiver – now 32 – have on his new team in 2014?
Lloyd, who recently signed a free-agent contract to re-join the team that drafted him in 2003, sat out last season to pursue his interests in acting and music. Now he’s trying to make the roster of a team that wants to get more production from a third wideout. The hope is that San Francisco will be able to land a field-stretching speed receiver in the draft that begins May 8, with one of its top picks to join starters Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.
But Lloyd – who had 74 catches for 911 yards, four touchdowns and a 12.3-yard average in 2012 with the New England Patriots – believes he can be an impact player in San Francisco.
This week, Lloyd said in an interview on the “KNBR Morning Show” that, “I’ve improved dramatically as a player and a person” and is eager to contribute to a team that has been just a step or two away from winning an NFL championship the past three seasons.
“Every person wants to say, ‘I want to be on a championship-caliber team,’ ” Lloyd told show host Brian Murphy. “San Francisco, this is the team. They’ve proven that over the last three seasons. The opportunity presented itself for me to return to football and I couldn’t see myself attempting it for any other organization.”
But the question is, how will Lloyd fit in with the 49ers?
The bulk of all offensive snaps will go to Crabtree and Boldin, proven players at the top of their games. The newly drafted wide receiver will certainly get a chance to show he can stretch the field and give the 49ers more quick-strike, deep-ball capabilities. And the Niners like second-year pro Quinton Patton and want to see what he can do with a full, healthy season.
So where does that leave Lloyd, on a team that also likes to run the ball and has a stable of terrific backs in Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Marcus Lattimore?
Realistically, it seems Lloyd’s opportunities to contribute may be limited – unless there is an injury. And after the 49ers signed Lloyd, some fans expressed worry that Lloyd's presence could inhibit the development and use of young players such as Patton and a drafted wideout.
Still, Lloyd will have a chance over this offseason to show his coaching staff and teammates that he’s capable of being the same player who caught 70 or more passes in three of his past four NFL seasons.
Now with the 49ers in their voluntary offseason conditioning program, Lloyd says his desire for football has been rekindled.
“Being around it is bringing the fire out and the passion back,” he told KNBR.