49ers Blog and Q&A

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

October 9, 2013
QB carousel: 49ers drop John Skelton, sign Bethel-Thompson


The 49ers quarterback merry-go-round took another spin today, this time dropping off John Skelton, who was acquired last week, and picking up former Sacramento State quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson, who spent the 2011 training camp with the 49ers, had been serving as the Vikings' No. 3 quarterback. Minnesota, however, released him earlier this week to make room for Josh Freeman.

Skelton, meanwhile, was signed last week to ostensibly compete with Colt McCoy to be the primary backup to Colin Kaepernick. In explaining the move, Harbaugh talked about wanting a veteran with starting experience, which Skelton had. Bethel-Thompson, 25, never has even attempted a pass in a regular-season NFL game.

The move underscores the uncertainty the 49ers have at the position after Kaepernick. The team signed Seneca Wallace in late August only to cut him a few days later. In acquiring Skelton, they had to release promising-looking rookie B.J. Daniels and hoped to add him to the practice squad. Instead, division rival Seattle signed Daniels to its active roster.

Bethel-Thompson also is familiar to Jim Harbaugh having faced him and Stanford in the opening game of the 2010 college season, a 52-17 Stanford win. Bethel-Thompson (6-3, 230) was injured early in that game. The San Francisco native also served as the Sacramento Mountain Lions quarterback during the 2011 UFL season after spending the offseason with the 49ers.

Bethel-Thompson initially made the 49ers' practice squad in 2011 but was made expendable when the 49ers signed Scott Tolzien.

-- Matt 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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