Things have been getting intense at 49ers camp.
Two days after Anquan Boldin was ejected from the playing field Friday following his skirmish with cornerback Darryl Morris, Jim Harbaugh had Chris Culliver replaced midway through Sunday's session after an unnecessary hit on David Reed.
Reed caught a pass in the left flat where Culliver brought him to the ground. The pads were on, but the 49ers staff has mandated contact to remain minimal at the risk of injury. Reed got up and had something to say to Culliver, who responded with a shove before the two were quickly separated.
Before the next play, Harbaugh instructed the defense not to commit any cheap shots on offensive players. It appeared Culliver took exception to Harbaugh taking that step, at which point he asked for a new corner to take Culliver's spot. Chris Cook came in and took the remainder of snaps with the first team secondary.
Culliver had some choice words on his way to the sideline, where he was pulled aside by defensive line coach Jim Tomsula for a pointed conversation. NaVorro Bowman, who remains sidelined while recovering from his knee injury, took Culliver aside and spoke to him at length. Vernon Davis made his way over and also offered Culliver some thoughts.
The 49ers have dealt with a myriad of injuries so far in camp and it's clear Harbaugh is looking to keep his players as healthy as possible going forward. And after Friday's confrontation between Boldin and Morris, Harbaugh was looking to prevent things from getting to a similar point Sunday when he told the defense to take things down a notch.
Following practice, Culliver was seen walking off the field with Harbaugh. The two had a quick conversation that concluded with a pat on the back from the head coach.
Until Culliver's incident, it wasn't quite a high intensity practice.
The 49ers had an off day Saturday and practice began around 10:50 a.m. Rookies Aaron Lynch and Marcus Martin participated in team drills for the first time this camp. Lynch injured his hamstring during the offseason program while Martin tweaked an ankle away from the team before the start of camp.
Lynch, who has gained 20 pounds since getting drafted, looked good for his first practice. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said afterwards they were taking it slow with the outside linebacker and didn't want running full tilt.
However, Lynch made a nice play down the field in coverage when he broke up a pass Jewel Hampton deep down the right sideline. Hampton ran a wheel route and Lynch stayed with him stride for stride before breaking up the play.
With Glenn Dorsey facing a potential year-long absence after suffering a biceps tear Friday, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Quinton Dial saw the majority of reps at nose tackle. Former practice squader Mike Purcell also got some time there, but appears well behind Jerod-Eddie and Dial in the competition to replace Dorsey.
Colin Kaepernick was intercepted twice during team drills. The first came during a two-minute drill when multiple hands got on a pass deep down the middle of the field before the ball ended up in reserve safety D.J. Campbell's hands. Later, in a red-zone drill, Demarcus Dobbs intercepted Kaepernick in a zone blitz look where Dobbs dropped into coverage in the short-middle of the field.
One of the day's offensive highlights came when on a two-minute drill when the second string offense was working against the No. 2s on defense and Johnson hit Ellington deep down the right sideline for a touchdown past Morris and rookie corner Dontae Johnson. It was one of Johnson's better throws during camp to this point.
Ellington caught another touchdown from Kaepernick during team drills on a post route from the left toward the middle of the field.
Sunday afternoon San Francisco announced it had waived receiver Jon Baldwin and signed former Dallas Cowboy wideout L'Damian Washington off waivers.
The 49ers got Baldwin in the A.J. Jenkins trade last summer from the Kansas City Chiefs. He managed to play in just seven games in 2013, making three receptions for 28 yards. And even after the team added three significant pieces to the receiving corps in the offseason in Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and Ellington, Baldwin didn't appear to come into camp in great shape and has been a virtual non factor in practice.
Washington joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent May 12 after playing four years at Missouri. In 2013 he caught 50 balls for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns. At 6'4" and 205 pounds, Washington has some upside and will likely compete for a job on the practice squad with Chuck Jacobs and Reed.
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