SANTA CLARA – Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini will be counting on 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks to have a big role Monday night in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
“I don’t expect any restrictions on Ahmad at all,” Mangini said on Friday. “Ahmad has versatility where he can go left, he can go right, he can move around. Ahmad can be anywhere.”
Brooks was excused from team activities on Aug. 26 after the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office filed a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery against Brooks, stemming from an incident the house of former 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald in December.
Brooks was cleared to return to the team on Saturday after the NFL announced he would not begin the season on the commissioner’s exempt list.
After more than a week away from the team, Brooks returned to the practice field this week to prepare to face the Vikings and take his spot in the 49ers’ starting lineup as an every-down player.
“Ahmad’s looked really good,” Mangini said. “And Ahmad is a guy throughout the spring, throughout camp, really been impressed with his work ethic, his toughness, his consistency, his approach in the class room. All those things about him, outstanding.”