By David Zizmor
SANTA CLARA–Saturday was cut down day at the 49ers and that signals an end of the preseason and there were not a lot of big surprises. You’re certainly not going to see any huge names on the list but the only name I suppose is semi surprising is safety Brian Jennings, he has been the 49ers long snapper for 13 seasons and he’s tied for the most consecutive games played by any 49er player in their team history.
It’s a shame to lose him he’s been an excellent long snapper for this team he made the Pro Bowl a couple of times, he’s the last player on the 49ers who was drafted by the late former head coach Bill Walsh. That certainly is a distinction to take with Jennings as he moves forward if he continues to play or if he decides to retire. Jennings has been a fantastic player for this 49ers team it’ll be a shame to see him go.
The main reason Jennings was cut was simply a salary consideration. As a 13 year veteran he’s been in the middle part of salaries he’s been getting about $1.5 million a year in that range. The Niners didn’t necessarily mind paying that but for a long snapper that’s quiet a bit of money, especially when he doesn’t play anywhere else. Jennings is like a deep backup on the offensive line. He doesn’t see much action other than long snapping on punting and field goal tries.
He’s not the most versatile player at this stage of his career and when they got a new guy an undrafted free agent who was also a very good long snapper the 49ers decided it would be time to move onto a new player in that position and all the while they appreciated all that Jennings has contributed to this team the salary considerations were something the Niners had to consider for that position. It’s very sad to see Jennings go, he’s certainly good enough that he could sign on somewhere else, the salary issue is going to be a problem no matter where he goes just because he’s played so long.
The 49ers wish him well and he has the ability to catch on somewhere for a team that needs a good long snapper, someone who can be a mentor to younger players in terms of not only how to be a long snapper but also how to be a professional and how to carry yourself on a team. Jennings fans wish him well and the best in his future endeavors.
Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins cut: It’s not super surprising Austin Collie was cut he was the wide receiver who for most of his career played for the Indianopolis Colts but suffered several concussions and had a knee injury last year and did not play at all. Collie certainly had some talent. The 49ers decided they had several other wide receivers who are in better condition and in better shape who can contribute right away.
Collie didn’t have much of an impact during the pre season so that’s why he was let go, he could come back if nobody else decides to sign him and the Niners feel the need to add someone but he didn’t really contribute enough to warrant making the team.
A bigger surprise was Lavelle Hawkins he was the former Cal receiver who actually had a very good preseason and had that great touchdown reception in the game on Thursday in San Diego. He had that kick off return for a touchdown two weeks ago he also had several bone headed penalties which weighed against him. Hawkins is someone the Niners could look to if they decide to add another receiver down the road.
Hawkins is good enough to catch on with some other team so, I don’t know if he’s going to sit out there for the 49ers to grab whatever they want. He certainly made an impression and he’s someone the 49ers should consider in the future if they need more help at wide receiver. Those penalties really hurt Hawkins in the end, he was a borderline case while he certainly had the talent, the mental aspect probably knocked him back a couple of notches.
David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio