Five months after dealing for center Jeremy Zuttah, the 49ers dealt with this reality: He wasn’t going to make their 53-man roster.
The 49ers released Zuttah, 31, today to end a brief and disappointing tenure that began when they swapped sixth-round picks with the Ravens to acquire him in March.
Zuttah, 31, was a Pro Bowl alternate with the Ravens last year and was expected to compete with Daniel Kilgore for the starting center spot. However, Zuttah missed most of the offseason program with hamstring injury and never seriously challenged Kilgore in training camp. After sharing some first-team snaps with Kilgore, Zuttah began ceding those snaps to Tim Barnes this week.
“That was a tough decision,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That was something we were really looking at last night. I think it says a lot about how Kilgore has been playing.”
Shanahan said the 49ers parted with Zuttah two days before their preseason opener to give him a better chance to make another team’s roster.
“We want to give him a chance to go somewhere else,” Shanahan said, “instead of keeping him here and making him go through that.”
The 49ers filled Zuttah’s roster spot by signing linebacker Sean Porter, a 2013 fourth-round pick of the Bengals who has played in three career games. Porter played in two games last year with Jacksonville and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was his position coach.
Newsom update: A team spokesman said linebacker Donavin Newsom was “doing fine” and was scheduled to be released from Stanford Hospital on Thursday after he left the field in an ambulance with a concussion Wednesday.
Newsom did not suffer a cervical spine fracture after colliding with safety Chanceller James and lying motionless on the field for more than 10 minutes. General manager John Lynch said, via Twitter, that he visited with Newsom on Wednesday and that the 49ers were hopeful he would rejoin them soon.
Surgery scheduled: Shanahan said guard Joshua Garnett will have “clean-up” knee surgery Thursday and suggested he’s unlikely to be ready for the season opener.
“I’m hoping that he has a chance for Week 1, but I know that’s going to be a battle,” Shanahan said.
Garnett, a 2016 first-round pick, had been the starting left guard in training camp before he missed his first practice Saturday. Zane Beadles has been the starter in his absence.
Injury report: Cornerback Dontae Johnson missed practice because of a concussion and will miss the preseason opener Thursday at Kansas City. Johnson has played primarily with the first team in training camp.
Inside linebacker Reuben Foster tweaked his left ankle during practice, but returned for a few snaps after it was heavily taped. Rookie tight end George Kittle did not participate in team drills because of a lingering hamstring injury.