The 49ers were dealt another blow this week when Ahmad Brooks, charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, was sent home from Colorado, where the team was practicing with the Broncos. Brooks was expected to start at the outside linebacker spot vacated by Aldon Smith's release three weeks ago. Third-year pro Corey Lemonier will now start.
"That's a big loss for us," linebacker NaVorro Bowman said, lamenting the latest absence of a key player. That list includes Smith, four key free agents and five retirees this offseason.