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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

December 10, 2012
49ers suspend Brandon Jacobs for the final three games

jacobsinjured.jpg

Bellyaching isn't tolerated in the 49ers locker room.

That message, which first was issued a year ago when Jim Harbaugh cut malcontent receiver Braylon Edwards, was sent again Monday when the team announced that running back Brandon Jacobs has been suspended for the final three games of the season.

Jacobs has been griping about his lack of playing time since October. But the complaints reached a crescendo over the last few days via social media. Jacobs incited the cyber wrath of 49ers fans after posting pictures on the photo-sharing site, Instagram, of him in the uniform of his former team, the Giants.

Replied Jacobs: "I am on this team rotting away so why would I wanna put any pics up of anything that say niners. This is by far the worst year I ever had, I'll tell you like I told plenty others."

Also on Instagram, Jacobs wrote, presumably of the 49ers: "They won't let me out, I tried."

Jacobs spent seven years in New York and won two Super Bowls there. But he and the Giants parted ways in the spring after the two sides couldn't agree to a reduction of his salary.

The 49ers signed the tall, 265-pound running back to a one-year deal. He got off to a good start, running four times for 31 yards (7.8-yard average) in the exhibition opener. But Jacobs went down with a knee injury in the second preseason game. And despite fully recovering by October, he had only a bit role in the 49ers' offense this year, rushing five times for seven yards.

His status took another hit Sunday when backup running backs LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon played well against the Dolphins. Jacobs was inactive for the game and spent it cheering from the sideline.

Jacobs, 30, can appeal the suspension. He will not get paid for the final three weeks of the season if it stands.

Harbaugh would not comment about Jacobs earlier in the day. "I'll go with the fifth amendment," he said when asked whether Jacobs still was part of the team.

During a radio interview Monday afternoon, general manager Trent Baalke said he had an "amicable" discussion with Jacobs. "It comes down to the team and making the best decisions we can for the team," he said on 95.7 The Game. "We'll leave it at that."

Why not cut Jacobs outright like the 49ers did with Edwards last season?

The Giants are short on running backs after losing Andre Brown for the season earlier this year and seeing starter Ahmad Bradshaw get injured on Sunday. Jacobs conspicuously chatted with his ex-teammates before and after the 49ers-Giants game on Oct. 14, including in the Giants locker room after the game.

The 49ers could meet the Giants again in the playoffs and wouldn't want Jacobs, who now knows the San Francisco offense very well and who would be gunning for revenge against Harbaugh and the 49ers, on the enemy sideline. Two other potential playoff opponents, the Packers and Seahawks, also could use help at running back.

And while the 49ers have several young backups behind starter Frank Gore, they have very little experience. Dixon, James and undrafted rookie Jewel Hampton never have started a game and have 121 NFL carries among them. Jacobs has 1,083 carries over his career.

His suspension opens up a spot on the 49ers' roster. They could look for a special teams player to replace Demarcus Dobbs, who will miss time with a knee injury. Or they might try to find a defensive end to replace Dobbs, who plays behind Justin Smith. The team worked out former Vikings and Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards last week.

-- 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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