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The 49ers made a decision to go young on special teams on cut-down day.
But one of the veteran players they released will likely be on the field Sunday when the 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys to open the regular season.
[RELATED: 49ers turn to young players on special teams]
C.J. Spillman, a special-teams standout for the 49ers since he was claimed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers in 2010, signed with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, a source said.
Spillman earned his roster spot in previous seasons due to his play on special teams –- most notably as a “gunner” on punt coverage. He is expected to line up in that position with the Cowboys to track down either LaMichael James or Bruce Ellington.
The 49ers figure to attempt to double-team Spillman when the Cowboys punt. Rookies Jimmie Ward, Dontae Johnson and James McCray could be used as blockers, along with Chris Cook.
Spillman led the 49ers with 19 tackles on special teams last season.