49ers release wideout Braylon Edwards

Braylon Edwards became a disappointment during an injury-plagued

year during San Francisco’s resurgent 2011 season.

The struggling wide receiver was released by the 49ers on

Tuesday three months after undergoing surgery on his right knee

that limited him.

Edwards tweeted the news early Tuesday, attributing the move to

his injury, which ”required more time to rehab and hasn’t allowed

me to re-sync with the offense.”

The 49ers confirmed Edwards’ release.

”I wish the 49ers organization the best of luck during the

playoffs,” Edwards said in a statement on his website. ”I will be

working hard this off season to strengthen my knee and prepare for

the 2012 season. Thanks for your continued support and for being

such loyal fans.”

San Francisco needs to add a receiver. Ted Ginn Jr., is nursing

a left ankle injury sustained on the second-half kickoff return

against Pittsburgh on Dec. 19, while Kyle Williams went down with a

head injury in last Saturday’s 19-17 win at Seattle. Versatile

tight end Delanie Walker also was hurt against the Seahawks,

suffering a jaw injury; it is believed to be broken. The team hopes

to get him back for the playoffs.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday the team might look outside the

organization this week to fill spots – and that looks to be the

case now – heading into the regular-season finale Sunday at St.

Louis. The 49ers are trying to secure the NFC’s No. 2 seed a

first-round bye.

Edwards had 15 catches for 181 yards and no touchdowns in eight

games with five starts for the NFC West champion 49ers (12-3) after

receiving a $3.5 million, one-year contract in August. That gave

him a fresh start under coach and fellow Michigan man Harbaugh.

He was inactive against St. Louis on Dec. 4 and again for the

Monday night game. In a loss at Arizona on Dec. 11, Edwards had no

catches and expressed his surprise not to be used more in the

offense.

Harbaugh has said Edwards’ performance in games and practice

affected his playing time.

Edwards, the No. 3 pick in the 2005 draft, got hurt early in

Week 2 against Dallas on Sept. 18 and missed four games before

returning against his former Cleveland team Oct. 30.

Edwards revealed in late November he also was dealing with a

shoulder injury sustained in the fourth quarter of a 19-11 win at

Washington on Nov. 6.

In a 16-6 loss on Thanksgiving night at Baltimore to Harbaugh’s

big brother, John, a second-quarter miscommunication between

Edwards and quarterback Alex Smith on a deep throw to the end zone

resulted in an interception. The 49ers didn’t score a touchdown for

the first time all season.

San Francisco had been eager to see Edwards’ big-play ability

when the club acquired him – Harbaugh liked his size at 6-foot-3

and 214 pounds – but it never happened. That lack of production

became a bigger deal after the team lost Joshua Morgan to a

season-ending leg injury Oct. 9 against Tampa Bay. Morgan underwent

surgery to have pins inserted in a broken bone in his lower right

leg.

Edwards spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the

Browns, making the Pro Bowl in 2007, before playing the past two

with the New York Jets. He also had a series of legal run-ins along

the way.

Edwards made 53 receptions for 904 yards and seven touchdowns

last season for the Jets and was determined to build on that with

his new team. Then the injury delayed his progress.

Edwards made it clear when he discussed the shoulder injury that

he hadn’t returned to full speed or full strength since the knee

injury.

”I’m playing through a football season. No one is ever going to

be fully healthy, but just fighting every day,” he said. ”Injury

means you can’t play, but I do have a shoulder ailment, I’ll say.

Little bit of AC joint. Nothing super serious, but at the same

time, it’s nagging. It bothers me.”

Last Tuesday, after a commanding 20-3 Monday night win over

Pittsburgh, tight end Vernon Davis tweeted his support of Edwards

and later said he was trying to step up as a leader.

”Thankful to have (at)OfficialBraylon on my team. He’s a true

professional and football is very important to him,” Davis wrote.

”I think teammates should stick together. At the end of the day we

will still be as one when the coaches are gone!”