The San Francisco 49ers have had a busy Tuesday as they get ready to play the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday and set their 53-man roster on Saturday.
Running back Jerick McKinnon returned to the practice field today, this time wearing a brace on his knee.
“We’d obviously would love him to be [on the 53-man roster to start the season],” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. “We’ve just got to make sure he’s healthy and ready to go…Today was the first process really, getting him out there and giving us a chance to decide that and giving himself a chance to decide it…”
McKinnon missed all of last season with a torn ACL. He was activated from the PUP list on August 6, but has missed the last few weeks of practice after having a platelet rich plasma injection in his knee.
Malcom Smith Cut
After two seasons, the 49ers cut LB Malcolm Smith. The once Super Bowl MVP missed 2017 with a torn pectoral. In 2018, he played in 12 games, starting five.
“Malcolm’s handled himself with class the whole time,” Shanahan said. “I know it didn’t go the way he wanted it to, or how we expected. But he was always the player we thought and the person. He’s a guy I will always have a ton of respect for.”
Shanahan would not go so far as to say that rookie Dre Greenlaw would start at the position, but he did say that the move means that they are confident in Greenlaw’s ability.
A lot was made of second-year receiver Dante Pettis playing later into the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ third preseason game.
After the game, Shanahan said, “He’s still trying to earn a role on this team and he’s still trying to show us what he’s capable of doing consistently.”
Today, Shanahan clarified that Pettis will be on the 53, but his role is still being determined.
“…I know a lot’s been said about the quote that I had on him, but Dante’s not in jeopardy of not making our team or anything, but we are still trying to find out a role for him,” Shanahan said. “When you have a guy like Dante, it can be a compliment to him, too. He’s a guy who’s capable of having any role on this team. He can be our best player on this team, he could be our best punt returner, he could be our number one receiver, our number two receiver, our slot receiver or just a role receiver. He has the ability to do all of that and he has shown that he can do all of that, but he hasn’t shown it consistent enough that we know exactly where to put him. So, that’s really what I was trying to word there. I have been hard on Dante, but if anyone knows me, I am the hardest on people that I believe in. I do believe in him a lot and I am always going to be probably a little disappointed, because I think he can be very good. It’s important to our team that he is.”
Shanahan said that defensive lineman Kentavius Street will have to have his knee scoped on Friday. Street, who tore his ACL in a pre-draft workout, was a 2018 seventh-round draft pick. Shanahan said the “most likely” option for Street is to put him on injured reserve.
Shanahan confirmed that it is “highly unlikely” that wide receiver Trent Taylor will be ready for Week One post foot surgery, while rookie receiver Jalen Hurd may also miss the beginning of the season, as he is dealing with a “lingering” back issue.
The 49ers signed WR Mike Williams, CB Chris Campbell, and RB Brandon Wilds, while waiving OL Willie Beavers and OL Dillon Day.