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49ers To Sign Veteran Garner

Even as starting tailback Garrison Hearst was soliciting another opinion on his injured left ankle, SportsLine has confirmed the San Francisco 49ers moved Tuesday afternoon to fill the potential void in their backfield, reaching contract agreement with five-year veteran Charlie Garner.

Hearst was in New York on Tuesday to be examined by Dr. Bill Hamilton, a noted foot and ankle specialist. Agent Pat Dye Jr. said at mid-afternoon Tuesday he had not yet heard from Hearst about the exam. Hearst received what Dye termed "encouraging" news Tuesday when Seattle orthopedist Pierce Scranton suggested that minor sugery might have him on the field again in 8-10 weeks.

A 49ers official said the addition of Garner will not preclude the club from continuing its pursuit of Lawrence Phillips. The former St. Louis Rams first-rounder will meet in New York on Wednesday with commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Agent Mitch Frankel said a decision on Phillips' future "definitely won't come" until after that session.

In a related development, the agent for former Washington Redskins standout Terry Allen said Tuesday afternoon he is still talking with the 49ers about his client. Tank Black, who is also discussing Allen with New England officials, said he understood the 49ers will attempt to sign at least two of the four backs brought in last week. The other back was Harvey Williams, formerly of Oakland.

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