The 49ers signed cornerback Eric Wright, who failed a physical with the team last month, and placed him on the non-football injury/illness list. Wright, 28, will count against the team's 90-man offseason roster, but if he's still on the injury list when the regular-season begins, he will not count against the 49ers' 53-man roster. Wright will not practice until he's healthy, and it doesn't appear as if he'll attend tonight's preseason opener, either.
"We are pleased to welcome Eric to the 49ers organization and look forward to his contributions," said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. "Eric is currently tending to a personal matter and he will join the team as soon as possible."
To make room, the team waived undrafted cornerback Lowell Rose. He was let go when the 49ers initially traded a late-round pick to the Tampa Buccaneers for Wright on July 19. But when Wright failed a physical three days later, that trade was voided and Rose was brought back. Teams only can place players on the non-injury football list before their first preseason game. The 49ers' opener is at 6 p.m. against the Broncos.
Meanwhile, Wright is facing possible DUI charges after he was arrested in Los Angeles last month. An initial hearing on the matter had been scheduled for Wednesday, but it was postponed. That postponement was seen as an indication that the L.A. City Attorney's office may drop the case, which is what happened after another DUI arrest for Wright last year in Los Angeles.
Last month, Baalke made it clear that the 49ers initially did not sign Wright because of the failed physical and not because of the recent DUI.
"I'd ask you guys to do your due diligence as well and find out the facts surrounding it," said Baalke, who did not divulge those facts. "And I think when you did that, that particular incident in and of itself - certainly we were aware of it, certainly it's a red flag. But I don't think what's being reported is really the facts around it."
Wright also was suspended for four games last season for violating the league's policy against performance-enhancing substances. Wright later said he tested positive for Adderall.
If a player remains on the non-football injury list when the regular season begins, he cannot practice or play for the first six weeks. After Week 6 and continuing through Week 11, there's a three-week window during which he can join practice. If the 49ers feel the player is healthy at that point, he can be moved to the active, 53-man roster.
Since July 22 when Wright failed the physical, the 49ers suffered a major loss at cornerback. Chris Culliver, who played 67 percent of the team's defensive snaps last season, went down with an ACL injury and will be lost for the season. Tramaine Brock has taken over Culliver's role as No. 3 cornerback for now.
There also are big questions about the position for next year and beyond. Brock, Wright, Tarell Brown, Nnamdi Asomugha and Perrish Cox will be free agents in March while Carlos Rogers will have a very high salary-cap figure. The team must make big decisions on the future of that position. Wright, who is a San Francisco native, gives them another option.
-- Matt Barrows