The 49ers ended the David Allen experiment on Thursday, waiving the rookie kick returner who was a major disappointment during his brief time with the team.

The Niners had tried to practically hand their punt return duties to Allen, a four-year starter at Kansas State who returned 41 punts for 1,646 yards and seven touchdowns during his college career, a total that ranks second in NCAA history.

Allen was the team's first choice to win the job, but he never distinguished himself during training camp or during the preseason, when he had zero net yards on two returns. He also returned six kickoffs for 136 yards, a 22.7 average.

Allen sprained his ankle returning a kickoff against Seattle last Saturday, and the injury carried over into this week. The Niners apparently felt they needed no more time to evaluate Allen, who did little to warrant a longer look. The team had rookies Cedrick Wilson and Jimmy Farris split the punt return duties last week.

The Niners also made a few roster moves late Wednesday, releasing second-year defensive tackle Cedric Killings and offensive lineman Milford Stephenson and claiming punter Jason Baker and defensive tackle Larry Fitzpatrick off the waiver wire. Baker was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, the same day Fitzpatrick was released by the New Orleans Saints.

Baker will challenge incumbent punter Chad Stanley, who has been unimpressive during the preseason but had done well enough to hold off rookie Stephen Cheek, who was cut Tuesday. Stanley has averaged just 34.2 yards on 10 punts in the preseason. Baker averaged 41.5 yards on eight punts with Philadelphia before being cut.

Killings had been one of the team's surprise rookies in 2000, making the team as an undrafted free agent and working his way into a role in the defensive line rotation. He played in the team's final 14 games and started an October game at Carolina in place of an injured Bryant Young.

Killings had 18 tackles and was tied for third on the team with three sacks last season. He had two tackles and a sack in the preseason this year, but had fallen behind other prospects on the depth chart.

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