After sitting out a season, Anthony Davis has returned to the 49ers and would seem to be the heavy favorite to reclaim his old starting spot at right tackle.
But second-year man Trent Brown – who started at the position late last year – doesn’t appear ready to just bow out gracefully.
Brown is playing with the first-team offense in training camp, with veteran Erik Pears on the second unit and Davis with the third team.
In the first few practices of this camp, Brown has shown he’s ready to battle.
Cam Inman, who covers the 49ers for the Bay Area News Group, noted this week that in the first full-contact drills of camp, Brown handled all comers. In one-on-one drills he beat veteran linebacker Ahmad Brooks.
“I took one step, met him at the point, he came inside and I finished,” Brown told Inman of their duel.
After a year of pro football, Brown told Inman he’s much more knowledgeable and confident this summer.
“I’m comfortable and know what I’m doing,” said Brown.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote that Brown not only put Brooks on the ground in a drill at one point, he handled second-year defensive end Arik Armstead, “the team’s most ferocious lineman” so far in camp.
It’s a big step forward for Brown, who early this past offseason appeared out of shape and apparently was dealing with some minor injuries.
Brown told Barrows that he came into camp in good condition after about six weeks of “old-school” workouts that included pushing his SUV up and down streets and running up and down sand dunes in Georgia and Texas.
“I needed to get to where I started, refocus at home, no distraction,” he said. “Just me and my family, working hard.”
Right tackle will be one of the most competitive positions in camp, with Brown, Pears, Davis and rookie John Theus all in the mix.
Brown, a seventh-round pick in 2015, said he welcomes the challenge, especially with the return of Davis.
“Everyone’s just going to get better,” he said.