Fleck no longer fits into 49ers' plans at WR

P.J. Fleck overcame some big odds to stick in the NFL with the 49ers, but his feel-good story with the team came to a conclusion Monday when the third-year veteran wide receiver was waived by the Niners.

Fleck's future in San Francisco became increasingly tenuous as the Niners kept adding more young receiving prospects in the offseason. Fleck, an undrafted free agent out of Northern Illinois in 2004, was competing for a berth as the team's No. 4 receiver last summer before a shoulder injury placed him on injured reserve and ended his season before it began in August.

The diminuitive but scrappy Fleck had put himself in position for a prominent role in San Francisco's passing game by rising through the ranks during his rookie season, then impressing his new coaches after the Mike Nolan regime took over control of the team last year.

Fleck out-played other more heralded prospects to make San Francisco's practice squad in 2004, then worked his way up to the 53-man roster by the end of the season. He saw time at receiver in the season finale against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and also returned one punt for 10 yards and had one tackle on special teams.

He was making a serious challenge for a top reserve role behind starting receivers Brandon Lloyd and Arnaz Battle last summer before the shoulder injury ended that bid and derailed his future with the team. With the 49ers bringing in veteran free agents Antonio Bryant and Bryan Gilmore and drafting Wisconsin product Brandon Williams in the third round, Fleck no longer fit into the teams plans.

In addition to Gilmore, Williams and projected starters Bryant and Battle, the 49ers also have veterans Jason McAddley and Derrick Hamilton currently vying at receiver along with second-year products Fred Amey, Marcus Maxwell and Rasheed Marshall and undrafted rookie free agents Chris Baker and C.J. Brewer.

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