Niners make six Sunday slices from roster

The 49ers got a jump on the first mandatory NFL cutdown Sunday evening when they asked waivers on six players, including one of their veterans from last season and the first member of their 10-player 2002 draft class to be shown the door. They still have at least 12 cuts to make by 1 p.m. Tuesday, and coach Steve Mariucci said some of that business will be conducted by early Monday afternoon.

Released on Sunday evening were:

--- Cornerback Teddy Gaines: The seventh-round draft pick from Tennessee did not display any of the coverage skills necessary to make it in the NFL and didn't show enough potential to keep around as a possible practice squad candidate.

--- Defensive tackle John Schlecht: Injuries prevented this guy from ever really challenging to keep the backup job he won last year, and the offseason acquisition of Jim Flanigan was going to make it difficult for him to make the roster even if healthy.

--- Center Jeff McCurley: Was fourth on the depth chart for a team that will keep, at most, two centers.

--- Tight end Ben Steele: Couldn't beat out rookie Mark Anelli in the competition to be the team's third tight end.

--- Cornerback/kick returner Clevan Thomas: Thomas was signed Wednesday, but the Niners didn't need much time to determine the 2002 Arena League Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year wasn't in their plans.

--- Linebacker Masafumi Kawaguchi: Allocated to the Niners as their Japanese representative for the Aug. 3 American Bowl, the Niners opted to keep Kawaguchi on their roster as a reward for his hard work and give him some film time on special teams in preseason games.

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