We are back inside the media workroom inside Lucas Oil Stadium for our final day of on-site coverage of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine. But that doesn’t mean this is the last day you’ll read or hear from the best college football players in the country on 49ers.com.
We’ll have continuing coverage leading all the way to draft day.
Today is an extremely big day here, as quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are competing in on-field drills as I type.
Already, Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford ran a sub 4.3, 40-yard dash, reported to be in betwen 4.23 and 4.18. The NFL will release the official time once it’s been confirmed.
As for which players will be speaking with the media, defensive backs will mostly be the main attractions. But, we’ve yet to hear from Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who could very well be the St. Louis Rams selection with the first pick in the draft.
Some of the defensive linemen and linebackers who didn’t make their way inside yesterday, will stop by throughout the day as well.
11:00 AM Update
Oklahoma State cornerback Perrish Cox was one of the first defensive backs to step to the podium. It’s worth noting, the 5-11, 189-pound corner said the 49ers were one of several teams he’s spoken with this week in Indianapolis.
Cox played against some of the best wide receivers in the nation during his time in the Big-12, including against the likes of 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree and his teammate, Dez Bryant.
“It was spectacular,” Cox said of his practice battles against arguably the top receiver prospect in this year’s draft. “I really can’t explain it. He is the best receiver I ever stuck on since I’ve been in college football – hands down.”
Tennessee junior safety Eric Berry is holding court at the podium at the moment and has the reporters chuckling every couple answer or so; he definitely has a fun personality.
Among the funny comments from Berry: His defensive coordinator at UT Monte Kiffin told him it would be silly for him to return back to school and he puts negative articles written about him up in his bathroom while he’s brushing his teeth and looks at it for motivation.
And just as soon as one of the top safety prospects finished at the podium, one of the top cornerback prospects, Florida junior Joe Haden stepped up to another podium on the other side of the room.
The former high school quarterback thought he would play a little bit of offense in Gainesville, but realized it was short-lived “because of some guy named Tebow.”
“I changed to reciever, but I was second-string behind Percy [Harvin], so I couldn’t get right,” Haden joked. “After that Coach [Urban] Meyer asked if I felt like going to the defensive side of the ball. At first, I wanted to play and I came in the spring, so I had a lot of time to adjust. He moved me to corner… and they let me start as a freshman.”
It was a good career move for Haden. He’s scheduled to meet with 14 different teams tonight.
1:30 PM Update
Oxford Rhodes scholar and former Florida State safety Myron Rolle is holding on to the NFL aspirations he’s had since he was six-years-old.
But despite being across the pond studying all last season in London, Rolle woke up early every morning to prepare for the Senior Bowl and the all important Scouting Combine. He even took a trip to the NFL’s International Series game last season to see the Patriots and Bucs play. [The 49ers will play in London on Halloween].
Here’s what Rolle said of his experience at Wembley Stadium:
“I saw every team represented there by a jersey by a British fan, and they were cheering and clapping for punts. But it was fun. It was great to be there, a great stadium, a great environment, a great atmoshpere. I hope the NFL plays more games there.”
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Good morning to the Faithful, 49ers.com is back at Lucas Oil Stadium ready to bring you more wall-to-wall coverage of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine.
And when I say wall-to-wall, I mean it literally.
We’ve interviewed coaches, front office members, media personalities and of course, the top prospects for the 2010 NFL Draft. ESPN insider Adam Schefter was gracious enough to talk 49ers football on Friday with Scott Kegley in an exclusive 1-on-1 interview that can be seen here.
In case you’re wondering what the setup looks like here at Lucas Oil Stadium, here’s a NinerCam video from inside the building.
As for today’s plan of action, not all of the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers had time to step into the media workroom on Friday. But not to worry, the NFL public relations staff assured everyone they will be stopping by this morning.
In addition, we’ll get a chance to talk with defensive players for the first time this week as the defensive linemen and linebackers will be making the rounds.
It should be a pretty interesting day as two of the draft’s top prospects are defensive linemen Gerald McCoy of Oklahoma and Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska.
Like yesterday, we’ll have a running blog of all things combine-related. And in case you missed anything from earlier in the week, check out our 49ers Combine Central page for all of our 2010 Scouting Combine coverage on 49ers.com.
11:00 AM Update
There’s a buzz around the media workroom this morning and it centers around the 40-yard dash time of Louisiana State return specialist Trindon Holliday, who ran a 4.22, the best time in Combine history. We caught up with Holliday on Thursday to find out more about him and his impressive return ability.
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen just stepped up to the podium around 12:30. First questions in were about his foot injury that is preventing him from working out at the Combine. Clausen injured his right big toe in the Irish’s third game of the season, in the second quarter against Michigan State, but played through pain the rest of the way.
Despite the injuries, Clausen completed 68 percent of his passes (289-of-425) for 3,722 yards, with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions.
“I tore two ligaments in that game and I played the rest of the season,” Clausen said. “At the end of the season I got another MRI and from playing with the two torn tendons, the doctor had to reattach the tendons.”
Also, several questions were posed to Clausen on the perception of his leadership skills being poor.
Clausen said a lot of those opinions came from the fact that he was playing in a “fish bowl” known as the Notre Dame. The South Bend signal caller ranked among the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class is excited to prove to coaches and GMs that he’s not the player who people say he is.
2:00 PM Update
Here’s what’s gone down in the last few hours here at Lucas Oil Stadium.
-Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford stepped to the podium wearing his Combine t-shirt that read “1 QB.” Asked if that meant he’d be the No. 1 selection in the draft, Bradford said it had nothing to do with it. His last name starting with the letter “B” was the reasoning for it.
-Defensive tackle Brian Price from UCLA was one of the most pleasant guys to speak with. I asked him what his favorite part of the Combine process was and his answer was great. “It’s seeing all the guys you see on the news, conversing with them and competing against them… Plus I get to be on TV!” Price’s huge grin at the end of the answer suggests he’s embracing the opportunity and is being himself.
-USC junior defensive end Everson Griffen plans on making an even bigger name for himself. The 270-pounder said he plans on running a 4.55, 40-yard dash on Sunday. One reporter asked if that time was realistic, Griffen responded, “Oh yeah, 100 percent realistic. You’ll see when the time comes.”
4:00 PM Update
Depending on which mock draft you last read, Nebraska senior defensive end Ndamukong Suh could very well be the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s draft. Others say Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is the top pick because of his penetrating ability.
Suh said the difference in the two’s style of play comes from the defensive schemes implemented at the two’s different schools. According to Suh, Oklahoma’s allowed McCoy to penetrate while Nebraska’s focused more on gap responsiblity.
But before he ever was considered a top NFL prospect, Suh was passionate about another sport, soccer. Asked for the reason he made the switch to American football?
“I was getting too many red cards,” Suh said.
4:30 PM Update
Colt McCoy, who many draft experts have ranked as the third best quarterback prospect is speaking with the media at the moment.
McCoy led his Texas Longhorns to the BCS National Championship game, but suffered an injury on the game’s opening drive that kept out of action in the biggest game of his college career. That’s saying something, considering how McCoy won 53 games as a starter, the most in NCAA history.
The injury was actually to McCoy’s deltoid. But, he added that there’s no structural damage to his shoulder.
“I’m working my tail-off to get my shoulder back. My best football is ahead of me and I’m going to work for that,” he said. “For me, I’m a hard worker. I’m the first one at the school and the last one to leave. I committed to winning and doing whatever it takes.”
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Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster is one of the more dynamic players in the draft. Before taking handoffs, McCluster was also a receiver and return man. In 2009, he rushed for 1,169 yards while tacking 520 yard through the air.
Apparently he also did one thing at Mississippi that not a lot of other people can claim – make three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis look “silly.”
“When I first got there [Willis] always called me Baby Hester,” McCluster recalled. “I remember one time in 7-on-7, he was pursuing me at an angle and I did a jab step, got underneath him and made him look silly. He took it easy on me in practice. I was a young’un and he never really brought the wood to me so he protected me in a sense.”
McCluster has a 1 in 32 chance of having that same protection from his former Ole Miss teammate in the NFL. However, McCluster said he won’t shy away if he see’s no. 52 heading straight for him on Sundays.
“I have a little more experience under my belt so I hope he’s ready.”
*** UPDATE (5:42 ET) I feel I should clarify that McCluster was having fun when he said this about his friend and former teammate. Willis left this response on Twitter.
Tags: Patrick Willis
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We’re back at Lucas Oil Stadium amongst hundreds of NFL media members on hand to cover the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine. This time of the day is the calm before the storm.
But the morning did have some importance as several important coin-flips finalized the 2010 Draft order, including one of which determined the 49ers second first-round pick. The Carolina Panthers lost their coin-flip to the Tennessee Titans, meaning the 49ers will select at No. 17 in addition to No. 13.
At the moment, Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith is at the podium answering questions from a sea of reporters. Following Smith will be a who’s who of NFL decision-makers including head coaches and general managers.
The 49ers handled their speaking duties already as Mike Singletary and Scot McCloughan spoke on Thursday, but you can check out our TV49 package in case you missed what they said.
There’s plenty of big-name players coming into the media area to talk, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will be the ones gracing the podiums.
We’ll have plenty of updates throughout the day, so stay tuned to 49ers.com for all your 2010 NFL Scouting Combine coverage. And be sure to check out our 49ers Combine Central page for stories, blogs, videos and photos from Indianapolis.
Lots of players are starting to make there way into the media area. One of the first prominent prospects to take the podium was Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn who figures to be one of the top wide receivers taken in this year’s draft.
Benn caught 67 passes for 1,055 yards as a sophomore, but struggled this past season with 38 catches for 490 yards. Despite the drop in production, Benn sounded confident that the numbers don’t tell his entire story.
“Numbers, don’t tell everything. A guy can have so many numbers based on how many times they’re getting him the ball,” Benn explained. “But I don’t have any regrets going to Illinois, we struggled in the passing game, but I know what it feels like to win and I know what it feels like to lose. That helped me a lot, being able to go through that type of adversity and just keeping going.”
Benn was asked who his favorite receiver is, without hesitation he said, “Jerry Rice.”
1:00 PM Update
Big surprise, I found another Jerry Rice fan. I think it’s safe to say that all of this year’s wide receivers grew up watching Rice.
Like Benn, UC-Davis wide receiver Chris Carter said he also is a big fan of Rice.
Carter caught 85 passes for 889 yards and four touchdowns in 2009, earning him Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. The Danville product has seen a lot of Bay Area football already, and would love to continue playing for a local team like the 49ers.
“It’s exciting to see what the Niners are doing, getting better,” Carter said. “You can see them growing as a team. I grew up loving to watch the Niners and Jerry Rice. How could you not as a receiver?”
Unlike Benn and Carter, Notre Dame wideout Golden Tate (pictured left) said he patterns himself after Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith.
Tate did however, inform the media that the 49ers are one of the teams he’ll be meeting with this week in Indianapolis. To the 2009 All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner, it doesn’t matter which team selects him. He just wants to make an immediate impact. In 2009, Tate impacted the Irish with 93 catches for 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns.
He hopes that production will carry over in the NFL.
“I want to play for whoever thinks I can come in, make a difference right away and help them to the Super Bowl. That’s who I want to play for.”
3:00 PM Update
Just after you get one interview done, an NFL employee announces another player has entered the room and so it’s on to the next one.
So far today, we’ve heard from several of the top quarterbacks in the draft like Jevan Snead from Ole Miss, Tony Pike from Cincinnati, Dan LeFevour (Joe Staley’s old college teammate from Central Michigan) and Sean Canfield of Oregon State.
But no sign of Tim Tebow (Florida), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) or Colt McCoy (Texas) just yet.
They should be hitting the podiums soon. Same goes for Cal running back Jahvid Best and Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.
On a personal note, I also caught up with Ohio wide receiver Taylor Price, who could run the fastest time by any wideout in the draft. Price is shooting for the low 4.3 range, which certainly will help his draft stock.
And just as I wrote all that, Tebow hit one of the main podiums and all members of the media went over to here what he had to say.
4:00 PM Update
“Some guy named Tebow is at the podium.”
Not the typical announcement for a prospect about to address the media, but Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is not your typical NFL prospect. As soon as it was announced, you could hear a shuffle in the room and reporters grabbed their recorders and notepads and flocked over to the stage.
The former Heisman Trophy winner (2007) and two-time BCS National champion (2007 and 2009) with the Florida Gators has easily been the biggest attraction this week in Indianapolis.
Knowing that, Tebow is not letting it get to him, especially with the advice he received prior to attending the Scouting Combine.
“Enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, because you’re only going to do it once,” Tebow said of his mantra for this week. “I’m doing that. It’s a long process, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it.”
Much of Tebow’s press lately has been about his throwing motion, more specifically, the adjustments he’s made in preparation for a career in pro football.
“I’m working on it, making some adjustments and just trying to improve my fundamentals as best I can. That’s something I think will improve my game and help me as a quarterback. It’s something I’m working on a lot.”
Tebow won’t throw at the combine, but will “compete” in every other event. The signal caller has his eyes set on his pro day at Florida on March 17 to show his new techniques to the various NFL coaches, scouts, and GM’s in attendance.
With Tebow’s calling card being his leadership, one reporter asked if it could rub NFL veterans the wrong way.
Not so, according to Tebow.
“I think (it’s like) when I got to the University of Florida. Sometimes, you can’t help the attention. But what you can help is your attitude, you can help your work ethic. When you go in there and show, I am putting the team first. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help you guys succeed, and I’m here to help this organization and together, we, can achieve more. And so, if that’s my attitude and they know that and they believe that, then they’re going to respect me. And that respect grows into like and that like grows into love and then you get a team that’s bonded. And then you get a team that wins championships.”
Cal running back Jahvid Best is at the podium now, we’ll have a feature on him later today on 49ers.com.
Tags: Scot McCloughan
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When GM Scot McCloughan was asked on Thursday who had influenced his draft philosophy the most, he gave three names – his father, former Packers GM Ron Wolf and the current GM of the Packers, Ted Thompson.
“I learned a lot from all of them,” McCloughan said. “Never lose sight of a good football player. It’s not just the production and the tape and all that but the person himself – the character, the passion, the intelligence. Life’s short in this business. And if you have a vision, stick with it.”
McCloughan’s vision has been cultivated throughout his career. He first worked with Thompson as an area scout in Green Bay from 1994-2000 and then in Seattle as the Director of College Scouting from 2001-2005.
In his current role as the head man in San Francisco, McCloughan is still close with Thompson, who had nothing but compliments for his former protogé when I asked about him on Friday.
“Scot’s a grinder,” Thompson said. “I think he’s done a marvelous job if you look at his drafts. They’ve been solid every year. He’s gotten some outstanding Pro Bowl players through the draft, which isn’t as easy as some people might think it is. He’s accumulated draft picks and he has two [first round picks] this year. I think we both have a strong belief that you build your team through the draft.”
Tags: NFL Combine, Scot McCloughan
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It wasn’t the coziest walk to Lucas Oil Stadium, but Scott Kegley and I braved through the elements on our five-block walk to Combine headquarters. Once we got inside and got set up, things started to pick up.
First, General Manager Scot McCloughan stepped up to the podium and answered a number of questions from the gathered national media. You can read the highlights of the interview here. Up next on the podium was Head Coach Mike Singletary. And just like McCloughan, you can read the best quotes from his interview right here.
We caught up with Singletary stage left with our NinerCam to ask a few follow ups, you can check that video out here.
Both seemed to be in good spirits on Thursday, despite being in the midst of a very important stage of the offseason process. But then again, they aren’t the ones being drafted.
The young NFL hopefuls are entering a tough realm. As one player pointed out, “It’s not going to be easy taking a job away from a grown man.”
That’s the reality of the situation, but the draft hopefuls put their best foot forward on Thursday. Kickers, punters, offensive linemen and tight ends were the first players to speak with the media, to give insight on themselves as well as their experiences at the Combine so far.
Some of the most anticipated interviews, (based on the size of reporters surrounding their podium) included the premier offensive linemen of this year’s crop like tackle Bryan Bulaga of Iowa, tackle Anthony Davis of Rutgers, tackle Trent Williams of Oklahoma (pictured right) and guard Mike Iupati of Idaho.
We caught up with several of the big offensive line prospects and will have more on those players in the weeks leading up to the Draft. We also caught up with one of the top center prospects, Jeff Byers of USC. Byers has blocked for some talented rushers in his college career, including teammate Stafon Johnson, who almost lost his life because of a tragic weight room accident. Byers wasn’t surprised that Johnson has made it back to where he could be drafted.
We’ll be back at Lucas Oil on Friday to hear what the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers have to say.
Be sure to check out all of our Scouting Combine coverage at our Combine Central page.
Who would you like us to talk to within those three position groups?
Tags: Scot McCloughan
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Taylor Price and I just arrived at our hotel in Indianapolis. It’s always difficult at any city to get set up on the hotel’s internet, but we’re both up and running now. It was about 20 degrees when we arrived at Indy after having a brief layover in Denver.
Media availability won’t start until tomorrow, when the offensive linemen, specialists and tight ends will stop by the media center. Here’s a brief overview of the media schedule for the next few days:
Thursday: Offensive Linemen, Kickers, Punters, Long Snappers, Tight Ends
Friday: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers
Saturday: Defensive Linemen, Linebackers
Sunday: Defensive Backs
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Scot McCloughan and Mike Singletary will both address the media tomorrow as well appear as guests on SIRIUS NFL Radio. Singletary is also tentatively scheduled to be on NFL Network around 2:30 ET. If there are any prospects that you may have a particular interest in, leave those comments below and we’ll see what we can do.
We’ll be heading back to the Bay Area on Monday since the workouts, which run through Tuesday, are not open to the media. However, stay tuned to our Combine Central page for all the news from Indy!
Tags: NFL Combine
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49ers.com will be heading to Indianapolis on Wednesday to bring you coverage of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine. We tried to make it as easy as possible for you to access all of our coverage with our 49ers Combine Central page. There you can find the latest news, blogs, videos and photos from the event.
You will also be able to follow us on Twitter for live updates from Indy.
Make sure to tune in on Thursday as general manager Scot McCloughan and head coach Mike Singletary will address the media. McCloughan is also tentatively scheduled to be on Sirius radio at 9:45 a.m. ET and Singletary will be on Sirius following his media session, which should be around 10:30 ET. Singletary will then appear on NFL Network around 2:30 p.m. ET.
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NFL Network’s Draft expert Mike Mayock (pictured on the right) fielded questions for nearly 90 minutes on Tuesday, answering queries on a wide variety of topics ranging from specific college players to the various needs of different NFL franchises.
Among some of the highlights of Mayock’s call, the analyst said Bay Area running backs Jahvid Best (California) and Toby Gerhart (Stanford) have second and third round draft grades respectively according to his film study. However, Mayock pointed out that Best has first-round ability, only durability questions have him rating the Golden Bear as a second-round talent.
Mayock explained why he has Oklahoma junior defensive lineman Gerald McCoy ranked ahead over Nebraska senior defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh as the No. 1 prospect in the 2010 Draft. Because the NFL has become more of passing league, Mayock believes McCoy’s pass rush ability from the inside is more valuable than Suh’s. Mayock stressed that both interior linemen will someday be All-Pros at the defensive tackle position, but McCoy’s athleticism gives him the edge over Suh. Mayock noted that Suh is able to push the pocket and is stouter against the run, but due to the trend of NFL team’s using passing to win games, McCoy can have great impact in Mayock’s estimation.
Another interesting point Mayock made involved his ratings of who the best safety available is in the 2010 Draft. Most experts have Tennessee junior Eric Berry as the top guy. Not Mayock. He has Texas sophomore Earl Thomas ranked ahead of Berry. Mayock’s reasoning is simple, Thomas makes more plays. Along the same lines of his NFL adopting a pass-happy approach to winning games, Thomas’ instinctive play makes him more attractive. Not to mention his eight interceptions this past year, which Mayock pointed out as to why Thomas is ranked ahead of Berry, who is fresh off winning the Jim Thorpe Award as college football’s best defensive back.
You can listen to the full audio of Mayock’s conference call here. It does go for over 84 minutes, but it’s a great listen for those who seek out alll possible information regarding the NFL Draft and the incoming college prospects.
Do you agree or disagree with Mayock’s views?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below this post.
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Legendary 49ers quarterback John Brodie, one of 11 former 49ers to have his number retired by the organization, is also going to be the recipient of a different distinct honor.
But the longest tenured player in team history (17 seasons with the 49ers) isn’t getting all the attention. He and seven other retired athletes and coaches will be inducted into The African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame (AAESHF) on Friday, March 19.
The annual Bay Area Induction Ceremony will be held at The Temple on the Hill Theater (Mormon Temple) in Oakland. The event kicks-off with a “VIP Reception with the Stars” starting at 6:00 p.m., followed by a dinner at 7 and the induction ceremony at 8. Serving as the Mistress of Ceremonies is none other than KISS-FM’s and San Francisco Giants public address announcer, Renel.
“This event will allow us to recapture, remember and honor some of the greatest athletes [and community leaders] ever … And help make dreams come true for academic achievers,” said Brodie’s teammate and former 49ers great R. C. Owens.
Brodie was not only born and raised in the Bay Area, he was an All-American in 1956 following his senior year at Stanford University. Brodie stayed close to home, playing for the 49ers from 1957-73. He finished his career ranked second in team history with 31,548 passing yards and third with 214 touchdown passes.
Brodie led the 49ers to back-to-back NFC Championship games in 1970 and in 1971. In 1970, he was named league MVP. In 1973, his No. 12 jersey was retired by the 49ers.
Other inductees include:
Pat Winslow Connolly, a three-time track and field Olympian during the 1960s, and the Big South Conference’s 2001 Outdoor Women’s Coach of the Year.
Ben Parks, a high-school coach who has dedicated more than 42 years of his life to challenged high-school students, and who has served as a role model to former professionals including Roger Craig, Eric Davis, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana, and Jerry Rice.
Lloyd “Bud” Winter, the former San José State College track and field coach whose relaxation and sprinting techniques have stood the test of time. Winter coached some of the fastest men in the world, including Ray Norton and Bob Poynter during the 1950s, and 1968 Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith.
Bob Ladouceur guided Concord’s De La Salle High School’s football team to 12-consecutive undefeated seasons, setting a national winning streak record for high school football with 151 consecutive wins between 1992 and 2003. He will receive the Outstanding Coaching Achievement Award.
C.A. Robinson, a former Richmond California Police Officer who founded the Police Activities League (PAL) in the City of Richmond, will receive the Youth Advocate Award.
Tickets for the event range from $50.00, $100, $125.00 and can be purchased at the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame’s website http://www.afrosportshall.com.
Tags: John Brodie, R.C. Owens
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