Jonathan Martin makes 49ers' 53-man roster
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, who had a tumultuous departure from the Miami Dolphins last October amid a bullying scandal, made the 49ers when the team trimmed its roster to the NFL's 53-man limit on Saturday.
Martin is getting a fresh start with the 49ers following a scandal in which he accused teammate Richie Incognito of bullying. An NFL investigation determined Incognito and two other Dolphins offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of Martin.
Martin started all four of San Francisco's preseason games at right tackle in place of injured regular Anthony Davis. He also has value at other line positions and has fit in well with his new team this summer.
"Jonathan is another example of someone who has really earned the position, and we're very fortunate to have him and excited about it," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Saturday. "He's mainly played tackle, but he has the ability to play guard and going forward that will be something that he'll continue to learn and be good at. I feel very good about it. He's done an excellent job of getting the job done."
Martin joins rookies Marcus Martin and Dillon Farrell as new additions to a San Francisco line that parted ways with Adam Snyder, a nine-year veteran with 87 career starts. Snyder was expected to be a top backup at center and both guard positions this season.
Snyder has 87 starts, including 75 with the 49ers, who drafted him in the third round in 2005. He returned to the team last season after spending one year in Arizona, starting four games at left guard in place of the injured Mike Iupati.
The 49ers also are without incumbent starting right guard Alex Boone, a holdout all summer as he seeks a new contract.
Also among those released were safeties C.J. Spillman and Bubba Ventrone, wide receiver Kassim Osgood and long snapper Kevin McDermott. All four veterans were standouts on San Francisco's special teams units last season.
The 49ers kept free agent Kyle Nelson to replace McDermott and several other new young faces to fill in on special teams, including undrafted rookie James McCray. Farrell also made the team as an undrafted rookie.
The 49ers also provided quarterback Colin Kaepernick with more help at the skill positions by keeping six wide receivers, including newcomer veterans Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd along with fourth-round draft pick Bruce Ellington.
Those three additions will join holdover starters Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree and youngster Quinton Patton in a vastly upgraded San Francisco receiver corps.
"There's only one football and that's not going to change," Harbaugh said. "Nothing will be given. These guys will be competing, and it will be competition at the highest level, no question when you look at that group. But the competition won't be self-centered. It will be something that will be very good for our team."
The 49ers also padded their depth behind Kaepernick by keeping backup quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson. San Francisco went primarily with two quarterbacks on its roster last season.
Johnson finished the preseason on Thursday by completing 14 of 17 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns during a 40-13 win over of the Houston Texans. He had a 110.8 passer rating and led the 49ers in all major passing categories. He also was fourth on the team with 57 rushing yards.
"We all felt like he earned it," Harbaugh said.
Also released by the 49ers were: offensive linemen Carter Bykowski, Al Netter, Michael Philipp and Ryan Seymour, wide receivers Lance Lewis and L'Damian Washington, defensive linemen Lawrence Okoye and Mike Purcell, linebackers Shane Skov and Chase Thomas, tight end Asante Cleveland, cornerback Darryl Morris and running backs Glenn Winston and Alfonso Smith. Winston led the team in rushing during the preseason with 113 yards on 19 carries.
To reach the final 53-player roster limit, the 49ers placed fullback Will Tukuafu and cornerback Kenneth Acker on the injured reserve list.