The San Francisco 49ers want to save Frank Gore for the regular season. And having lost both Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James to injuries early in training camp, they needed another running back to help carry the load in the team's four exhibition games.
They found one Tuesday by announcing the acquisition of former Arizona Cardinal Alfonso Smith to a one-year deal. Smith broke the news Monday night by posting a picture on Instagram of a 49ers' logo and the caption "I'm a Niner Babeeeeee!"
Smith, who originally joined the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Kentucky, notched 48 carries for 156 yards during his four seasons with the team.
He was primarily used on special teams in 2013, where he made six tackles according to Pro Football Focus.
Smith fell out of favor with Arizona after fumbling the ball twice in 18 attempts last year, including his final rush of the season in Week 6's loss to the 49ers, when he coughed the ball up in the fourth quarter.
San Francisco will likely be without Kendall Hunter for the entire season after tearing his right ACL on practice Friday. The prognosis is much better for James, who suffered a dislocated left elbow during a blocking drill Sunday and is expected to miss a month of action. James is still on track to return before Sept. 7's season opener in Dallas.
The 49ers are hoping Marcus Lattimore can rejoin his teammates on the practice field some point soon. Lattimore remains on the active/non-football injury list and has intensified his conditioning drills while his team practices.
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