By Cam Inman, Contra Costa Times –
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Randy Moss raced off the 49ers practice field Thursday with a smile. Again. It’s become a daily habit for the unretired wide receiver.
Moss has shown no sign of second thoughts about returning for a 14th season, having sat out last season after playing for three teams in 2010.
“The joy of the game comes out for sure, you can see it out there,” quarterback Alex Smith said of Moss. “How much he likes being out there, being around his teammates. He’s got a great sense of humor.
“But he’s out there working. The guy communicates really well. He sees things really well. It’s great to have that line of communication.”
Moss played only four snaps on the 49ers’ opening drive in Friday’s exhibition-opening win against the Vikings. Asked what it was like to see his first NFL action since 2010, Moss said after the game: “It wasn’t a big difference, but it was all right.”
Coach Jim Harbaugh declined to reveal which wide receivers will start Saturday at Houston. But Harbaugh also raved about Moss’ approach thus far.
“Just the way he competes, and he’s always talking about football,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve never come up on him in one of those loud, gregarious moods where he’s not talking about football.
“I’m trying to catch him in one of those moments but have not been successful yet, which is a great sign. He really enjoys it. He really loves football.”
— Linebacker Aldon Smith did not practice but emerged to watch his teammates for the first time since bruising his right hip in Friday’s exhibition opener. Smith walked without a limp and without the canes that supported him after the game.
— Running back Frank Gore, defensive lineman Justin Smith and wide receiver Mario Manningham will make their exhibition debuts Saturday after resting against the Vikings, Harbaugh said.
— Injured tight end Nate Byham was waived, having not practiced the past two weeks. Byham, a sixth-round draft pick in 2010, missed last season with a knee injury that apparently flared up on him this camp.
— Linebacker Ahmad Brooks (unknown reason) and tight end Delanie Walker (right knee) did not practice for a fourth straight day.
— Cornerback Perrish Cox was out for a second straight day, and he instead did individual conditioning drills for an apparently minor leg injury.
— Thursday marked the final scheduled practice of training camp in which the media could attend. Harbaugh, however, wouldn’t declare camp done. “We have nowhere to break to; we’re here,” Harbaugh said of the 49ers’ year-round facility.
— To prepare for Reliant Stadium’s noise, the 49ers piped in music during some offensive drills, starting with AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
— Cornerback Tramaine Brock practiced with a splint on his left pinkie.
— Wide receiver Joe Hastings remained out of team drills but looks ready to return soon from a leg injury that’s sidelined him most of camp.
— Harbaugh would not disclose whether Ted Ginn Jr. will return punts on Saturday; Kyle Williams and LaMichael James handled that chore in the opener.