SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Another San Francisco 49ers running back called out second-year receiver Brandon Lloyd.
Tailback Kevan Barlow criticized Lloyd on Thursday for comments he made earlier in the year about Terrell Owens and suggested the team's starting
split end should keep quiet until he accomplishes more on the field for a struggling 1-6 team.
Lloyd was the target of pointed comments Wednesday from Pro Bowl fullback Fred Beasley, who questioned the professionalism, commitment and desire to
win of some of the team's younger players.
More dissension among the ranks surfaced when Barlow was asked if he agreed with Beasley's remarks. Barlow and Beasley have had a volatile
relationship during their time with the 49ers, but Barlow took the opportunity to blast Lloyd as Beasley had done the day before.
Barlow's ire was directed at comments Lloyd had made during training camp. Lloyd said in August that perhaps the 49ers were better off without Owens,
a three-time All-Pro receiver, who was traded to Philadelphia in the offseason.
Lloyd indicated then that Owens' disruptive attitude and clamoring for the football had a negative impact on the team.
"He shouldn't even be saying we're a better team without T.O.," said Barlow, who remains friends with Owens. "How are we a much better team without
T.O. when we're 1-6? If we're a better team without T.O., then you need to step in and do what T.O. (did) or don't say anything at all."
Lloyd, a fourth-round draft pick last year, was expected to fill the void left by Owens as San Francisco's No. 1 receiver this year. He got off to a
slow start and missed two games with groin problems.
Lloyd has led the 49ers in receptions each of their past two games. He ranks fourth on the team with 21 receptions for 248 yards and two
Owens led the 49ers in receiving each of the past four seasons, recording 51 touchdown catches during that span and reaching the Pro Bowl each
San Francisco's young group of receivers, which is missing both its starters from last year, is struggling to make big plays without Owens.
"If you're going to call somebody out, then you should step up to the challenge and make us forget about that guy," Barlow said. "But other than that,
if you haven't proven yourself on this level, you should just be quiet, come to work, do your job and then make us forget about T.O. Until you make
the Pro Bowl, or you do what he did - then you can say something."
Lloyd declined to respond to Barlow's comments. On Wednesday, Lloyd responded to Beasley's criticism by saying, "We're all frustrated, that's all it
Coach Dennis Erickson seemed to agree with that assessment Thursday, calling Beasley's comments "a very small issue."
"Those comments were made out of frustration," Erickson said. "Fred Beasley is a pro. He's played in a lot of football games. He understands what it
takes, and he was frustrated."
Erickson said he's not worried about any internal strife or losing atmosphere plaguing a team that's off to its worst start since 1979.
"Nobody's used to losing," he said. "We haven't won football games, and we need to win football games. We've had some opportunities. We have nine
games left. We are going to keep battling, and there's not anybody in that locker room that doesn't want to do that."
[Edited on 11/5/2004 by Gibbs Baby!!!]