SANTA CLARA — Another Los Angeles Rams’ coup? Another star player joining their roster before Monday’s visit to the 49ers? What to think of Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) reportedly saying yay to L.A.?
“That’s great,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner responded Thursday in a monotone fashion, sounding part sarcastic and part I-don’t-give-a-darn. “If he plays (Monday night), great. If he doesn’t, great.”
Beckham is one of two wide receivers 49ers fans have especially obsessed over for years, hoping to see in a red and gold uniform. The other: Jalen Hurd, a 2019 third-round draft pick who, of all days, officially got waived Thursday, after never suiting up outside the preseason because of back (2019) and knee (2020) injuries.
Beckham got his release Monday by the Cleveland Brows, then reportedly chose the Rams over the Green Bay Packers, whose lobbying included a pitch from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Did Jimmy Garoppolo do any recruiting of Beckham?
“Uh, in our building, I guess you can say,” Garoppolo responded. “But, no, I’m happy with the guys we’ve got right now.”
Those top guys include wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, plus tight end George Kittle. However, No. 3 wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is missing Thursday’s practice and likely a few games with a knee injury.
Officially out of the mix, finally: Hurd, whose only appearance since his 2019 rookie exhibition season was this year’s preseason finale against the Raiders. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday the 49ers weren’t expecting Hurd to debut this season because his knee rehabilitation kept missing timeline targets.
Instead, Trent Sherfield, Jauan Jennings and Travis Benjamin are candidates for expanded roles in light of Sanu’s injury from Sunday’s loss to Arizona.
All the 49ers’ receivers — including practice-squad members River Cracraft, Austin Watkins Jr. and Connor Wedington — went through a new drill Thursday to emphasize ball security, with assistant coaches slapping each receiver with a blocking pad. Aiyuk and Kittle lost fumbles Sunday, and the 49ers’ 14 giveaways are tied for the NFL’s second-most.
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) November 11, 2021
On Monday, Shanahan said the 49ers weren’t in a financial position to submit a claim to Beckham off waviers, nor did any other team as he carried a $7.25 million salary if claimed.
After some confusion, the Rams confirmed they’ve agreed to terms with Beckham, and it’s reportedly a one-year deal.
WILSON WALKS OFF
Jeff Wilson Jr. exited early from running back drills, doing so with his head down as a trainer escorted him to the weight room. It’s not immediately known if Wilson aggravated the knee that required meniscus surgery in May and has delayed his season debut.
Wilson figured to assume the 49ers’ third-down role Monday night, especially with JaMycal Hasty (ankle) not practicing. Wilson suited up last game but did not play a snap as starter Elijah Mitchell battled through a rib injury.
Prior to practice, Shanahan outlined the running back roles: “Elijah’s our starter right now. He’s earned that. You open the game up with him. But they both can do some things. And Jeff also can help on third down, which he’s always done in the past, which helps with Hasty possibly not being out there. But we also know Jeff can run the ball well too.”
As for rookie Trey Sermon, he hasn’t played an offensive snap since Oct. 10 and really only had two games with significant action of 10 carries each. Hasty’s potential absence Sunday “will give Sermon another opportunity to get back at it,” Shanahan said.
Not practicing were Hasty, Sanu, defensive tackle Mo Hurst (calf), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle), safeties Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and Tavon Wilson (foot), and, resting but watching, left tackle Trent Williams and center Alex Mack.
Emmanuel Moseley (neck) surfaced on the injury report and was limited, as was fellow cornerback Josh Norman (rib), plus Mitchell (rib), Kittle (calf) and defensive tackle Arik Armstead (neck).
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw’s return from a Week 1 adductor injury is unlikely to happen this week, Shanahan added.