SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Earlier this week, the San Francisco 49ers traded for slot receiver/returner Jeremy Kerley. On Tuesday, the reason for that move became clear as the team placed presumptive starting slot receiver Bruce Ellington on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Ellington suffered the injury last week in the Niners' third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. It happened on a punt return as Ellington stumbled forward to catch the punt before falling awkwardly. He limped off the field and spent most of the first half on the bench with a towel over his head. San Francisco coach Chip Kelly said Ellington had an MRI on Saturday. Ellington is not eligible for the injured reserve/designated to return tag because he was not on the 53-man roster when the preseason ended.
Ellington's two-year career has been marred by various injuries that cost him six games. The 2014 fourth-round pick out of South Carolina has 19 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns while also serving as the primary returner over two seasons.
"Jeremy gives us some depth as a slot receiver," offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said. "He's played a lot of football in this league as a slot. He also gives us some versatility as a returner, so he's added depth that we really need and I think he'll be able to get caught up to speed fairly quickly."
The 49ers also released linebacker Jason Fanaika to get to the league-mandated 75-man roster before Tuesday's deadline.