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September 20, 2012
Report: Bakhtiari beat Merriman for spot on 49ers' roster

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It looks as if journeyman Eric Bakhtiari beat out one of the most prominent names at his position to land a spot on the 49ers 53-man roster. According to Scout.com, former Pro Bowl outside linebacker Shawne Merriman visited the 49ers on Wednesday, the day they signed Bakhtiari to fill in for Clark Haggans during Haggans' three-game suspension.

Bakhtiari was the team's most productive defensive player during the offseason, leading the 49ers in sacks and finishing second in tackles during the exhibition season. Merriman, meanwhile, was one of the most dangerous pass rusher his first three seasons with the Chargers but has been plagued by injuries in recent years. He was suspended for four games in 2006 for violating the league's policy on steroids and related substances.

It's also worth noting that Bakhtiari was a member of the 49ers' coverage teams during the preseason while Merriman never has had a big role on special teams. The 49ers' coverage units, perhaps the league's best in 2011, have been shoddy early on this season.

Merriman was released by the Bills in training camp.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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