Wallace joins battle for 49ers’ backup job

McClatchy news servicesAugust 24, 2013 

Seneca Wallace stepped on the practice field for the first time with the San Francisco 49ers on Friday as the most experienced quarterback on the roster.

Whether the nine-year veteran still has a job with the team in two weeks depends on how quickly he can fit into a system that meshes with his skills.

“I’m real excited to be here and be a part of this,” said Wallace, who has 21 career starts with the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns. “When you’re an athletic quarterback, and that’s your background, you just try to utilize your talents the best that you can. The good thing here is that they utilize a quarterback’s talents and they’re trying to win. That’s the biggest thing. If this certain individual does things well, that’s what they’re going to utilize.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh said all five quarterbacks on the San Francisco roster, including Wallace, likely will play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Colin Kaepernick will start.

“We’ll split it up after Kap four ways,” Harbaugh said.

The 49ers are eager to get a look at Wallace, who was released Monday by the New Orleans Saints.

“The fact that you can get an experienced quarterback like Seneca Wallace at this stage, I felt there was no downside to that,” Harbaugh said. “He can do a lot of the things that a quarterback that can move can do in our system. He hit the ground running, and he’ll get right out there and start playing.”

The 49ers added Wallace because Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien have struggled so far during the exhibition season. McCoy threw an interception in each game, completed just 46 percent of his passes and has an exhibition passer rating of 25.3. Tolzien has completed 53 percent of his throws and has a passer rating of 57.0.

Rookie B.J. Daniels played last week against the Kansas City Chiefs and led the 49ers on the winning touchdown drive late in the game.

ESPN NO LONGER PART OF CONCUSSION PROJECT

ESPN ended a collaboration with PBS on an investigation of the NFL and players’ head injuries.

ESPN said its decision was based on a lack of editorial control over “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” airing in October on PBS’ “Frontline.” At ESPN’s request, its logo was being removed from websites related to the project and from the film itself.

The head injury issue has potentially vast implications for the NFL, with more than 4,000 former players suing the league over claims it hid known concussion risks, leading to high rates of dementia, depression and suicides.

The NFL denied a New York Times report that it pressured ESPN to drop out of the project. The sports network has a lucrative contract to carry “Monday Night Football” games.

EXTRA POINTS

Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who had foot surgery 10 months ago, was removed from the physically unable to perform list and added to the Jets’ active roster, ESPN.com reported. Holmes will not play Saturday against the Giants, but he passed his physical and is eligible to practice. Meanwhile, the Jets signed offensive tackle Jason Smith, who spent last season with the team. ... The Steelers acquired running back Felix Jones from the Eagles for linebacker Adrian Robinson. The deal is pending each player passing a physical.

EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHT

Bears 34, at Raiders 26: Jay Cutler led five first-half scoring drives, Matt Forte gained 109 yards from scrimmage and Chicago (2-1) beat Oakland (1-2).

Matt Flynn threw two interceptions on six passes before being pulled in favor of Terrelle Pryor in the second quarter. Pryor led Oakland to 20 points on five drives.

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