Gore's blocker is back: FB Norris returns to 49ers on three-year deal

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers re-signed fullback Moran Norris to a three-year contract Monday, welcoming back the burly run-blocker after releasing him last summer.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Norris, an eight-year NFL veteran, played for the 49ers from 2006 to 2007. He was the lead blocker for Frank Gore when the running back led the NFC in rushing with 1,695 yards in 2006, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.

San Francisco dropped Norris after training camp last season because former coordinator Mike Martz's offense didn't make much use of a fullback. Norris signed with the Detroit Lions, starting eight games during their 0-16 season.

"I thought (returning to San Francisco) would be a good possibility, but I just didn't know what route they were going to go," Norris said Monday after signing the deal at the 49ers' training complex.

When Jimmy Raye was hired to replace Martz in late January, head coach Mike Singletary confirmed the 49ers' intention to implement a run-based offense. San Francisco quickly moved to re-sign Norris, who was eager to reteam with Gore.

"He knows how I block, and I know how he runs," Norris said. "We're friends on and off the field. ... I knew they were looking for a fullback that was going to stick their nose in. I'm just glad to be back with Frank Gore."

Norris also played for the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans earlier in his nine-year NFL career. He has carried the ball just 11 times in his career, but he has caught 27 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns.

While Norris finished his contract at the 49ers' complex Monday, he didn't run into Kurt Warner. The free-agent quarterback was in town for a physical exam and a meeting with the top executives of the 49ers, who hope to entice him away from the Arizona Cardinals.

"That would be exciting," Norris said about the possibility of the 49ers signing Warner. "He's a winner."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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