Aug. 28 (UPI) — The San Francisco 49ers have signed running back Ja’Quan Gardner and waived safety Chanceller James.
San Francisco announced Gardner’s three-year pact on Tuesday. Gardner, 23, had 5,495 yards and 72 touchdowns on 880 carries in 42 collegiate contests at Humboldt State University. He also had 767 yards and four scores on 81 catches for the Lumberjacks. The 5-foot-7, 205-pound running back had 1,322 yards and 21 scores on 206 carries during his senior season. He also had 212 yards and two scores on 20 catches in 2017 for the Lumberjacks.
He will wear No. 38 for the 49ers.
James, 23, signed with the team in May of 2017 as an undrafted free agent. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound defensive back spent the entire 2017 season on injured reserve. James had 171 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, seven passes defensed, four interceptions, three sacks and a fumble recovery in 35 games at Boise State University before entering the NFL.
The 49ers have Jerick McKinnon listed as their starting running back. Matt Breida is listed as the second-string running back on San Francisco’s unofficial depth chart. The 49ers also have Raheem Mostert, Joe Williams, Alfred Morris, Jeremy McNichols and Jeff Wilson on the roster at the running back position.
McKinnon is being held out of the preseason due to a calf strain. Breida has a shoulder injury and Williams recently fractured a rib.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters last week that the team could keep four running backs on its roster.
“Definitely it’s a possibility,” Shanahan said. “Going extra at a number of positions is a possibility. We definitely think there’s four running backs on our roster that we like. We have that at a lot of positions and stuff, and that’s why it’s going to be tough to get to this 53.”
The 49ers take on the Los Angeles Chargers in their final preseason game on Thursday. San Francisco travels to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of the 2018 season on Sept. 9 at U.S. Bank Stadium.