Tukuafu signs extension with 49ers

March 9, 2012, 12:41 am
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Defensive lineman Will Tukuafu, who played in the 49ers' first four games of last season before he went on the injured reserve list due to a right wrist injury, signed a two-year extension with the club on Thursday.

Tukuafu, who has one year of NFL experience, was scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent with no power to negotiate with any team other than the 49ers this offseason. He signed for the minimum amounts with no guaranteed money.

"Will is a fine example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "His strong work ethic has allowed him to make significant strides since signing as an undrafted rookie. We look forward to Wills future development."

The 49ers signed Tukuafu after the Seattle Seahawks waived him during 2010 training camp. Tukuafu originally signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie from Oregon.

Tukuafu (6-foot-4, 293 pounds) spent most of his rookie season on the 49ers practice squad before getting a promotion to the 53-man roster for the final two games. He made his NFL debut in the 2011 season opener against Seattle and recorded a fumble recovery on his first career play from scrimmage.

Three games later, Tukuafu sustained a season-ending dislocated wrist while blocking on a kickoff return against the Philadelphia Eagles. Tukuafu is 100-percent healthy.

Tukuafu is expected to compete for playing time in a backup role for the 49ers, along with Ricky Jean Francois, Demarcus Dobbs, Ian Williams and any other defensive linemen the team adds this offseason.

Tukuafu had 131 tackles, 14.5 sacks, five fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles over the final three years of his career at Oregon.