Jonas Jennings' 2008 season lasted one and a half games. The 49ers' right tackle -- their marquee free-agent acquisition in 2005 -- had surgery this morning to secure the right shoulder he dislocated in Week Two. The question now is whether Jennings ever will play a game for the 49ers again. He has two years remaining on the $36 million contract he signed in 2005. But he has now had three surgeries to the same shoulder. Jennings also suffered dislocations in 2005 and 2006.
Jennings' lack of durability has been well documented. He never made it through a full season in four years with the Buffalo Bills, and he's missed 35 of 58 possible starts since joining the 49ers. He missed time in the preseason with a broken hand. Jennings was the first player the Mike Nolan-Scot McCloughan regime ever acquired, and it's clear that they vastly overpayed for his services. Still, general manager McCloughan did not rule out the possibility that Jennings could return to the 49ers. He said Jennings' future with the team would be dealt with in the offseason.
"There's no reason why he can't come back from this once the surgery is done," McCloughan said during a conference call. "When he's played for us, he's played very well. He played 13 games for us in '06."
McCloughan said that Jennings and the team knew that surgery was inevitable once the the injury occurred during a game against the Seahawks. Because the rehabilitation will take six months, both Jennings and the team figured it was wise to get it out of the way. Jennings has practiced the last two weeks with a harness, but McCloughan said Jennings was not able to practice at 100 percent effort. On the team web site, McCloughan said it was "a matter of pain tolerance."
The decision to have surgery also was prompted by how well Adam Snyder has been playing at right tackle and by the fact that Barry Sims is scheduled to return from a foot injury this week. The team also filled Jennings' roster spot with tackle Jacob Bender, who was signed from the New England practice squad. Bender (6-6, 315) was drafted by the New York Jets last year in the sixth round out of Nicholls State. Bender will be the team's No. 4 tackle over the last six games.
-- Matt Barrows