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YOUNG HAPPY TRADE NEVER HAPPENED

Steve Young admits it crossed his mind.

If things had worked out differently, he might be playing for the Los Angeles Raiders instead of the San Francisco 49ers.The two teams meet Saturday night in an exhibition game at Candlestick Park, bringing Young a reminder of the trade that wasn't.

"I'll tell you what, football is strange, life is strange," Young said. "There's no doubt the Raiders were trying to get me on their sideline. Whether the 49ers were is up to great debate. There's no doubt that something was going on throughout the offseason, but this is what I wanted, to be here, so I'm happy."

The Raiders reportedly sought to make a draft-day deal for Young but balked when the 49ers demanded a first- and second-round pick from this year's draft plus wide receiver Tim Brown, a former Heisman Trophy winner and the Raiders' top pick in 1988.

Jay Schroeder and Todd Marinovich will share the quarterback duties against the 49ers and try to make Raiders officials forget about Young, the league's top-rated passer last season.

The 49ers certainly aren't complaining about the aborted trade, especially since Joe Montana's return from an elbow injury has been complicated by a renewal of pain and fatigue in his surgically repaired passing arm. Montana has been ordered to refrain from throwing and rest his arm completely for the next two weeks.

Young will start against the Raiders, provided he overcomes a lower back injury that limited his practice time this week.

"I don't think it's a big deal, but (team doctors) think it could use a day or two of rest," Young said.

He said he twisted his lower back in a failed effort to avoid a sack by Denver's Karl Mecklenburg in the 49ers' 13-7 exhibition win over the Broncos on Monday night.

If Young is rested, Steve Bono will start and Bill Musgrave would follow, coach George Seifert said.

Both Seifert and Raiders coach Art Shell said they are still in the personnel evaluation stage and would play as many players as possible.

"Exactly how much playing time people will get, I can't tell you," Shell said. "They've had one game under their belt so they'll be ahead of us as far as execution is concerned."

Eric Dickerson is expected to make his debut as a member of the Raiders. He was acquired in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts and is listed second on the depth chart behind Nick Bell.

Raiders running back Marcus Allen is among five unsigned veterans. The others are Brown, cornerbacks Lionel Washington and Terry McDaniel and linebacker Winston Moss.

Two other players, defensive linemen Greg Townsend and Scott Davis, are holding out as part of an effort to have their contracts renegotiated.

The 49ers have four unsigned veterans, including wide receiver Jerry Rice.