The 49ers reached an injury settlement with one of the defensive linemen they waived a week ago, Lamar Divens, but not with the other, rookie Lawrence Okoye. That means that Divens can join another squad but that Okoye will revert to injured reserve, allowing the 49ers to retain his rights through the season.
The team could have reached an injury settlement with Okoye, a newcomer to American football, and then later signed him to the practice squad. The 49ers still have one open space on the squad but probably don't need another defensive linemen. They have six on the active roster; another, Demarcus Dobbs, on the reserve/suspension list; and an eighth, rookie Mike Purcell, on the practice squad.
Okoye suffered a sprained knee in the 49ers' third preseason game. While he will not be able to practice with the 49ers this season, he can attend meetings, do classroom work, watch games from the sidelines and otherwise get an insider's education on how the NFL works -- exactly what a football neophyte requires. The 49ers are expected to sign Okoye to a contract at the end of the season, and the plan is that he'll start up again in the spring when the 49ers' offseason program begins.
Divens' injury is unknown.
Divens, of course, was involved in an ugly offseason brawl with outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks that resulted in Divens needing stitches on his head and him sitting out a week of minicamp. After a month-long investigation, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office decided not to pursue a case against Brooks, in part because of a previous scuffle between the two men and in part because Divens demanded $1 million from Brooks. Both Okoye and Purcell witnessed the June incident, according to police records.
Neither the 49ers nor the NFL has announced any discipline for Brooks, although the NFL has said the case still is being reviewed. Brooks will start in Sunday's game against the Packers.
- Matt Barrows