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49ers Begin Roster Trim Down
August 26 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers began their roster trim down following their loss to the Raiders. The team needs to trim its roster down to 65 players by tomorrow and are almost there after cutting six players. Released were CB Teddy Gaines, LB Masafumi Kawaguchi, C Jeff McCurley, DT John Schlecht, TE Ben Steele and DB Clevan Thomas.

Teddy Gaines was a seventh round draft pick by the 49ers this season. He is only the third draft pick since 1999 not to make the opening day roster. Kory Minor and Alex Lincoln being the other two. Gaines simply couldn’t compete with what the depth the 49ers already had at the position, and gave the 49ers little reason to keep him around. He thus became expendable.

Masafumi Kawaguchi was signed as a linebacker prior to the team playing in the American Bowl in Osaka Japan. Kawaguchi, a fan and player favorite, was also a victim of numbers. The 49ers simply had too much depth at linebacker to keep Kawaguchi. It is unclear at this point whether his release will matter in trying to reach the roster limit, because the NFL gave the 49ers an exemption to carry him on the roster.

Center Jeff McCurley was beat out by Ty Wise, who likely won’t make the team either. McCurley also has a warrant out for his arrest as of last week. He altered a prescription to get pain killers.

A year ago John Sclecht was a promising defensive tackle, now he’s a tackle battling injuries that have kept him inactive all pre-season. Schlecht looked like a keeper, but couldn’t get healthy again. The 49ers reached an injury settlement with him.

Ben Steele couldn’t keep up with Justin Swift for the backup tight end position. The 49ers will continue to give rookie Mark Anelli a look, but unless the team keeps three tight ends, and a long snapper, he likely won’t make the roster either.

Finally Clevan Thomas was signed just a few days ago. The team was hoping he could challenge for a kick return position, but have obviously changed their minds.

The 49ers will likely add Anthony Parker and Kevin Curtis to the injured reserve list after the cut down date. Those two moves should save them from making a few cuts. Given that Josh Shaw has not practice with the team yet, he too could be a candidate for the injured reserve.

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