The 49ers did some roster shuffling Tuesday, releasing rookie cornerback Tramaine Brock from the active roster and signing receiver Jason Hill, who was released Sept. 3. They also cut outside linebacker Bruce Davis from the practice squad, a hint that Brock might end up there if he passes waivers.
Hill was the team's third-round pick in 2007. His signing comes after Ted Ginn sprained the MCL in his left knee on a pass reception in the third quarter of Sunday's game. He was limping heavily yesterday in the locker room and it's unknown how long he will be out. When Ginn left the game Sunday, the 49ers were down to three healthy receivers. Hill worked out for the Rams and Seahawks after being released two weeks ago.
As it stands now, Dominique Zeigler will be the No. 3 wideout. Hill likely would see time as the fourth receiver with rookie Kyle Williams recovering from a turf toe injury. Zeigler was the team's most prolific receiver in the offseason and quarterback Alex Smith has said that he feels comfortable throwing in his direction. However, Zeigler does not have Ginn's straight-line speed nor his ability as a return man.
The return game also is an area that seemed deep at the beginning of training camp but has grown decidedly thin. Without Ginn or Williams, the team's best option is rookie cornerback Phillip Adams, a seventh-round pick. Adams handled that role well in the third and fourth preseason games, including an 83-yard return for a touchdown in Oakland.
Adams, however, also could see time on defense. Without Brock, the team is down to four healthy cornerbacks with the Saints heading to town. Those four are: Nate Clements, Shawntae Spencer, Tarell Brown and Adams. Another cornerback, Will James, told The Bee yesterday that he hoped to return to practice this week after spraining his ankle Aug. 15. James did not practice last week.
Starting receiver Josh Morgan was the team's lone bright spot at kick returner last season, and he replaced Ginn at that position late in Sunday's game. Mike Singletary, however, has said that he'd rather not have one of his starting wideouts handling that job.
-- Matt Barrows