SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -Veteran offensive lineman Barry Sims signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, crossing the bay after nine years with the Oakland Raiders.
Sims, who joined the league as an undrafted free agent in 1999, started all 16 games at left tackle for the Raiders last season as their longest-tenured player. He played both guard and tackle for Oakland, including 68 straight starts at left tackle, but was released Feb. 29 in a cost-cutting move.
Four teams made a bid for Sims' services in recent weeks, but he chose the 49ers because of the geographical proximity to his Bay Area home and a better chance to be a major contributor.
Sims probably will begin training camp in competition with right tackle Jonas Jennings, who has missed at least part of 32 of the 49ers' last 48 games because of persistent injuries. Jennings lost his starting job at left tackle last season to Joe Staley, the first-round pick who had an outstanding rookie campaign.
Sims essentially traded places with Kwame Harris, the longtime 49ers lineman who signed with the Raiders earlier in the offseason. Sims will take Harris' place as San Francisco's backup tackle, while Harris hopes to replace Sims as Oakland's starting left tackle.
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