Tough timing for Froman


Rookies hoping to enter the NFL through the back door this season might find the gate is even harder to pry open.
Think it was tough to latch on to an NFL roster as a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent in a normal year? Now try it without having a minicamp or much of training camp to prove your worth. And now try it as a quarterback charged with mastering an NFL offense — without a playbook.
That’s the potential challenge facing Louisville quarterback and Santa Rosa native Adam Froman if an NFL lockout drags on deep into the summer or beyond. Froman, currently projected as a potential sixth- or seventh-round pick, won’t get much more than a congratulatory phone call if he’s drafted during a lockout.
Of course, it could be worse. If he’s not drafted, Froman will languish in limbo: NFL teams won’t be able to sign undrafted free agents if the current labor impasse remains unchanged.
“It’s definitely not an optimal situation,” Froman said. “As a quarterback especially, you want to have that playbook as long as possible — have time to learn it and go over it. And really master it to give yourself a shot when you do get into camp and the preseason. In this situation, camp might be really short or it could be nonexistent, so that puts guys like me in a real tough situation. A real tough spot.”
Froman is used to overcoming obstacles. He was barely recruited out of Maria Carrillo High after taking up the sport as a sophomore. He then spent a year at Santa Rosa Junior College backing up future Hawaii quarterback Greg Alexander. Finally, he won hard-fought battles for the starting job in each of his two seasons at Louisville.
Next up could be his biggest challenge. Not surprisingly, Froman is prepared for the latest obstacle even if, in some ways, well, he can’t properly prepare.
“I kind of look at it like another hurdle in the way,” Froman said. “… If I do get a shot to get into camp, I just have to accelerate that learning curve. It’s going to be real steep and I’m going to have to spend countless hours a day putting in the time so I can get out there on the field and give myself a shot.”
For more on the 49ers, go to Instant 49ers at
You can reach Staff Writer Eric Branch at and follow him at