Harbaugh: 'There were a lot of worthy players'

Harbaugh: 'There were a lot of worthy players'
August 31, 2013, 4:15 pm

Jim Harbaugh made roster cuts that were in the best interest of the team. That meant cutting ties with a veteran like Brian Jennings. (AP)

The difficult decisions were good decisions, coach Jim Harbaugh said Saturday as the 49ers trimmed the roster down to 53 players.

"There were a lot of worthy players," Harbaugh said. "The thing that was profound to me was that so many guys improved, so many of the guys were ascending players right up to point of making the final roster."

[RELATED: 49ers announce cuts to 53-player limit]

"It made the day for me an exciting and good day by the efforts of the players and what our coaches accomplished over the offseason and the training camp. To see young football players ascend and get better as football players, that's very exciting to me."

Harbaugh spoke on a conference call with the local media after the team made its mandatory cuts:

--There could be another cut coming, as the 49ers will sign fullback Owen Marecic, reports CSNBayArea.com contributor Kyle Bonagura. Harbaugh declined comment on whether the team will add the former Stanford standout to the roster.

--On the team's decision to release long-snapper Brian Jennings, a 13-year veteran, Harbaugh said: "Brian Jennings, to me, we breathe the same air. Nobody I can say I enjoy more than Brian Jennings."

[RELATED: Brian Jennings: 'I've been honorably discharged]

Harbaugh described Jennings as an "NFL top-level talent."

"That decision was what we thought was in the best interest of the game. On a personal level, that was as tough as it gets."

--General manager Trent Baalke issued the following statement on Jennings: "The 49ers would like to thank Brian for his 13 years of service to the organization and the Bay Area community. He has always represented himself, his family and this organization with the utmost class. We wish him, and his family, the very best."

--Inside linebacker Nate Stupar had two strong games to close out the exhibition season, but Harbaugh said Stupar did not exactly come out of nowhere. Stupar sent time last season on the 49ers' practice squad.

"Definitely, you talk about it being a meritocracy, that's evidence with Nate Stupar," Harbaugh said.

[RELATED: 49ers cut day tracker]

--The 49ers released veteran wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins and Austin Collie, as well as Chad Hall, who made a strong impression, too.

"You do what you feel is the best thing for the football team," Harbaugh said. "They've competed well. They've performed well. And at this time weren't put on the 53."

Hall, who even played a snap at nickel back on defense late in the exhibition finale, worked his way into strong consideration to make the team.

"I really felt Chad Hall improved by a real inflection point from time he got here, through offseason and training camp," Harbaugh said. "Talk about several guys who were deserving and right on the cusp of making it, and Chad Hall was one of those. No doubt about it, he was very deserving of making it."

--Outside linebacker Cam Johnson left no doubt about a roster spot with his performance Thursday night, which included two sacks and a blocked punt for a touchdown.

"There's constant evaluation daily in practice and in games," Harbaugh said. "What he did in practice and in all the games, there's no question, especially in that game, he earned -- merit, again. It showed he's an ascending, improving player.

"Yeah, that was earned again through the body of work. But, definitely, that game was a shining game for him."