The San Francisco 49ers released two-time Pro Bowler Brian Jennings, the team’s longest-tenured player.
Jennings was the 49ers’ long-snapper the past 13 seasons. He had played in a franchise-record 208 consecutive games, and was among 21 players waived Saturday by the defending NFC champions.
Considered one of the NFL’s elite players at his position since the 49ers drafted him in 2000, Jennings lost in a summer competition against rookie Kevin McDermott.
”That was a big decision, and on a personal level, it was as tough as it gets,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said.
”It was one of those things that we felt was in the best interest of the team. There’s nobody I can say I enjoyed any more than Brian Jennings, watching him play and compete, and he has more football in him. He’s definitely an NFL-level talent. We felt that way about Kevin McDermott, too.”
”Today, I feel as though I’ve been honorably discharged from the team I love,” Jennings said in a statement released by the team.
”I’d like to thank my teammates who are my brothers, and heroes. In a very real way I learned to be a man as a 49er. Completely tested while on and off the field this team, game, and group of men made me who I am today.”
Running back Jewel Hampton, wide receiver Chad Hall and safety Trenton Robinson were the other veterans from San Francisco’s Super Bowl roster released by the team Saturday.
Hall was one of four veteran receivers waived. Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins, who have combined for 244 career receptions, also were released along with 10-year veteran Kassim Osgood.
The 49ers also released veteran quarterback Seneca Wallace, handing the No. 3 role at the position behind Colin Kaepernick and Colt McCoy to rookie B.J. Daniels, San Francisco’s seventh-round draft pick this year.
Daniels, who had auditions at running back and receiver during training camp, didn’t play quarterback in the preseason until San Francisco’s second preseason game.
He finished the preseason with a team-high three touchdown passes and 128.6 passer rating. He also was second on the team with 87 yards rushing.
”He went out in practice and games and earned that spot,” Harbaugh said. ”We felt he earned it with his play. Another example of meritocracy on this squad. There were a lot of worthy players. We kept guys that are hungry and feel good about our team in that regard.”
Daniels was one of nine players from San Francisco’s 11-man 2013 draft class to make the final roster. McDermott was the only undrafted rookie to make the team.
He did it after making it through the preseason practically flawless with his snaps while handling most of those duties during San Francisco’s final two exhibitions against Minnesota and San Diego.
”I knew my chances increased if I played well, and it was a challenge I embraced,” said McDermott, considered one of the premier long-snappers in college football last season.
”Brian Jennings has been one of the best long-snappers in the league for 13 years and he’s meant a lot to this city and team. I just hope I can come in and do my job and help this team win games.”
Also waived were offensive linemen Carter Bykowski, Patrick Omameh, Wayne Tribue and Kenny Wiggins, cornerbacks Marcus Cooper and Darryl Morris, tight end MarQueis Gray, linebackers Joe Holland and Travis Johnson, defensive lineman Mike Purcell, safety Michael Thomas, wide receiver Chuck Jacobs and fullback Jason Schepler.
The 49ers also placed veteran defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs on the reserve/suspended list to reach the NFL’s 53-man roster limit for the regular season.