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SPORTS WEEKEND | NFL / DAILY REPORT : NFC

Young Will Start for 49ers

September 12, 1997|Associated Press

San Francisco quarterback Steve Young, already cleared by doctors to resume playing after taking last week off as he recovered from a concussion, will start Sunday's home opener against the New Orleans Saints, 49er Coach Steve Mariucci said Thursday.

"We chose to do that because all the medical people said he's ready to go," Mariucci said. "Waiting any longer isn't going to make the situation any different or any better."

The 49ers, whose offense has been ranked in the top six in the NFL in each of the last 15 seasons, are last in total offense.

Young, 35, will be backed up by rookie Jim Druckenmiller, who made his first NFL start in last Sunday's 15-12 victory at St. Louis. Jeff Brohm, whose practice time has been limited by a cracked bone in his passing hand, is the third quarterback.

Young is returning to the starting lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion when he was kneed in the head by Tampa Bay linebacker Hardy Nickerson during a season-opening 13-6 loss to the Buccaneers.

Doctors advised Young, who has had three concussions in his last 10 regular-season games, to take last week's game off. He was examined again Monday by his neurologist and a second expert before receiving medical clearance to play.

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St. Louis wide receiver Isaac Bruce is expected to see his first regular-season action in the Rams' game at Denver. Bruce, who caught more passes (224) in his first three seasons than any receiver in NFL history, has been sidelined because of a hamstring injury. . . . Tampa Bay Buccaneer backup defensive end Eric Curry underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee and will be sidelined two to three weeks.

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