Agent: 49ers adding running back Pierre Thomas to fill void
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers signed running back Pierre Thomas on Tuesday to bolster the position given a rash of recent injuries, adding to a wild two days of change for the once-proud franchise that included the benching of struggling quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The team also announced that running back Reggie Bush was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list after he hurt his left knee in Sunday's loss at St. Louis. Defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey was suspended without pay for the next four games for violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, the NFL said.
Cornerback Chris Davis was signed to the practice squad to take the place of Ramsey.
Thomas, whose agent C. Lamont Smith first tweeted his client was Bay Area-bound, posted a photo on his Twitter account with a red No. 32 jersey from team headquarters and said: ''I am excited for this opportunity (and) want to thank the (at)49ers org for bringing me on board. Let's get to work!''
He hasn't played this year after spending his first eight seasons with New Orleans, making 38 starts and appearing in 105 games with 818 carries for 3,745 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also had 327 catches for 2,608 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The 49ers (2-6) are sitting Kaepernick - whose 28th birthday was Tuesday - in favor of backup Blaine Gabbert for Sunday's game against Atlanta, a person with knowledge of the decision said late Monday. Kaepernick, who took over the starting job from Alex Smith in November three years ago, was told Monday of the team's decision. The offense has gone two straight games and three in five without a touchdown and last-place San Francisco dropped to 0-3 against the NFC West. The team traded tight end Vernon Davis to Denver on Monday for a pair of late-round draft picks.
Former first-round pick Gabbert would be scheduled to address the media for the first time as starter Wednesday, though the team had yet to announce the change. He will make his first start since Week 5 of the 2013 season with Jacksonville. In 30 career games, the 26-year-old Gabbert is 417 for 784 for 4,395 yards with 23 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and a 66.8 passer rating.
San Francisco also signed running back Shaun Draughn on Monday to boost the position with Bush, Carlos Hyde and Mike Davis all injured. Former Australian Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne was signed to the practice squad after being waived Saturday.
Hyde missed Sunday's game with a stress fracture in his left foot while Bush was expected to have surgery because of the injury he sustained when he slipped on concrete out of bounds against the Rams.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL