July 29, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers parted ways Friday morning with respected veterans Eric Heitmann and Joe Nedney. Both players were designated releasedfailed physical.
"We would like to thank Eric and Joe for their contributions to the 49ers organization and wish them and their families all the best," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in statement released by the team.
Heitmann, 31, was a starter on the 49ers' offensive line for eight seasons. He was placed on injured reserve last season with a neck injury sustained in training camp. He did not play last season.Heitmann will be unable to play this season, too, after undergoing offseason surgery to repair a ruptured disk in his neck, CSN Bay Area reported last month.A seventh-round draft pick from Stanford in 2002, Heitmann started 114 games for the 49ers, including games at left guard, right guard and center. His final 68 starts were at center.Heitmann was a three-time winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award, given annually to the 49ers' offensive lineman who best exemplified the qualities of the 49ers' longtime line coach."Eric gave nine tremendous years of service to the franchise and the Bay Area community," Baalke said. "As a leader in our locker room, he epitomized what the 49ers strive to achieve."
Nedney, 38, was placed on season-ending injured reserve both of the past two seasons. Last year, Nedney missed the final seven games of the season after sustaining a knee sprain and bone bruise in his plant leg.Nedney is expected to announce his retirement today, ending his 15-year NFL career, reports the San Jose Mercury News.Nedney spent six seasons with the 49ers and exits as the most accurate kicker in team history with an 86.6 success rate. Ray Wersching is second at 72.8. Signed as a free agent in 2005, Nedney expertly navigated the winds at Candletick Park and converted 26 of 28 field-goal attempts that season. He was named co-winner of the Bill Walsh Award, along with linebacker Derek Smith, as the team's MVP."Joe is a consummate pro in every sense," Baalke said. "As a player, no word better describes him than 'clutch.' Having grown up in the Bay Area, he is a great ambassador for the 49ers."
The 49ers reached a contract agreement Thursday with Nedney's successor, David Akers, a five-time Pro Bowl players during his 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.