Beasley seems to target Lloyd with comments

Updated: November 4, 2004, 9:48 AM ET
Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Fred Beasley wants teammates who care about winning as much as he does -- and he doesn't see many of them in the San Francisco 49ers' locker room.

Brandon Lloyd

Fred Beasley

The Pro Bowl fullback criticized the club's young players again Wednesday for a lack of toughness, professionalism and winning drive. Brandon Lloyd was the target for much of his ire, though the starting receiver wasn't mentioned by name.

"I want to win. I want to get to the playoffs," Beasley said. "I guess they care about how much money they can make. It doesn't matter how long their braids are or how much bling-bling they can wear."

Lloyd has artfully braided hair and an extensive jewelry collection. Two days earlier, Beasley said the 49ers had nobody with the guts to be a big-play receiver.

The hard-nosed Beasley's unhappiness with the flashy Lloyd is the most visible sign of dissent so far for the 49ers (1-6), who face Seattle on Sunday. San Francisco is off to its worst start since 1979, and its veterans might finally be tired of the front office's apparent willingness to sacrifice a season while digging out of their salary cap mess.

Lloyd is fourth on the 49ers with 21 receptions for 248 yards and two touchdowns. The second-year pro has been a minor disappointment, since he was expected to have a breakout season after tantalizing San Francisco fans with 14 catches -- mostly spectacular ones -- as a rookie.

And according to Beasley, that isn't Lloyd's only transgression. Again without naming names, Beasley criticized players for complaining about not getting the ball enough, for not working hard enough in practice -- even their demeanor on team flights back from road losses.

"It's frustrating when you've got some guys playing 100 percent and some guys not," Beasley said. "That's what I'm talking about, that competitive heart. We don't have that."

Beasley is widely respected for his work ethic and unglamorous style, and he never has hesitated to confront teammates about clubhouse issues. He has a long-standing feud with running back Kevan Barlow, once coming to blows with the younger player, but they've been cordial this season with Barlow's move into the starting lineup.

Though Beasley said he'd spoken with the 49ers' young receivers about his complaints, they were news to Lloyd.

When asked if he had become too big-time, Lloyd first referred reporters to comments he'd made on his radio show Tuesday. Lloyd also said he'd never spoken to Beasley about the problems.

"We're all frustrated, that's all that is," Lloyd said. "I don't know what he's trying to do. He doesn't mention any names. ... I think guys are working hard. It's not going to affect the way I catch balls. If it was important, he would have come to us first."

In fact, three of the 49ers' top five receivers hadn't heard from him.

"I've never spoken to Fred ever, since I've been here," said rookie Rashaun Woods, a first-round pick who's caught just two passes. "I'm just trying to do exactly what he said some guys aren't doing, and that's give 100 percent."

Beasley decried the selfish nature of those unnamed players, but also praised the competitive fire of departed teammate Terrell Owens, a superb talent, but an admittedly selfish player who petulantly demanded the ball.

Earlier in the season, Lloyd said the 49ers were better off without their selfish players, specifically Owens.

With a young roster and a raft of injuries, the 49ers are all but assured a horrible season. But Beasley doesn't believe San Francisco's lack of talent is the biggest problem.

He said fellow veterans such as defensive tackle Bryant Young and offensive lineman Scott Gragg have noticed the young 49ers' unprofessional attitudes, a stark contrast from previous San Francisco teams.

"Of course it needs to be said. It's obvious," Beasley said. "I've been here seven years, and when I see it, I see it. It's just a huge difference this year from the last years I've been here, a huge difference."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press