Wide receiver Kevin Jurovich and linebacker Scott McKillop were among the first players cut as the 49ers trim their roster to 80 players today. Jurovich, who grew up in San Jose and played at San Jose State, was a member of the practice squad last season. He is eligible for the practice-squad again this year. The 49ers must get down to 53 players Saturday.
McKillop was a fifth-round pick in 2009 and excelled on special teams as a rookie. However, he suffered a severe knee injury last training camp and was not yet back to full strength when training camp began this year. Still, McKillop tied for the team lead with seven tackles Saturday against the Texans. McKillop is not eligible for the practice squad.
The others released: WR Tyley Beiler, G Donovan Edwards (Cal), G Nick Howell, RB Seth Smith and P Sam Paulescu, who played well in relief of Andy Lee Saturday. His release signals that Lee is back at full strength and will punt in Thursday's preseason finale.
Jurovich was one of the players who helped arrange for the 49ers players to practice at San Jose State and use the school's weight room over the four-and-a-half-month lockout. He was quarterback Alex Smith's most constant target during the labor dispute and Smith said he thought Jurovich had an excellent chance to make the active roster this year.
However, when training camp began Jurovich found himself at the bottom of the wide-receiver pecking order and never was able to work his way up. Jurovich had one catch for 17 yards during the preseason. He was targeted once Saturday but dropped the pass.
With Michael Crabtree seemingly close to a return, the top of the 49ers' receiver position looks like this: Braylon Edwards, Crabtree, Joshua Morgan and Ted Ginn. The team's leading receiver in the preseason has been Kyle Williams, who appears to the frontrunner for the fifth spot.
However, rookie Ronald Johnson got into Saturday's game ahead of Williams and also was given a chance to handle punts. Johnson played for receivers coach John Morton at USC and Morton advocated strongly to select Johnson in the sixth round. It's Morton who determines who goes into the game during the preseason. Johnson did not take advantage of his opportunity, however, dropping a pass, bobbling a punt and fumbling another punt.
The receivers who are practice-squad eligible are: Williams, Johnson (R), Jurovich, Beiler (R), Chris Hogan (R) and Joe Hastings (R). Lance Long is not practice-squad eligible.
The 49ers are waiting to hear whether Edwards will be suspended by the league for a DUI infraction that occurred last season. Asked Monday about possible disciplinary action on Edwards, league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote that there is "nothing to report on that."
Two players who had well-publicized run-ins with the law during the offseason, Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt, will not be suspended at the start of the start of the season, although the league could revist the incidents pending the outcome of court cases.
Both of their arrests occurred during the lockout. While Edwards' DUI court case also occurred the lockout, the incident occurred during the 2011 season.
-- Matt Barrows