The first cuts: Why they're gone

Two full days before the NFL deadline to pare down their roster to the league-mandated 75-player limit, the 49ers got down to that number Sunday by releasing nine players, two of which some people might have thought would have stuck around a little longer. Here is a look at each of the first nine players cut from San Francisco's summer roster and why they no longer are with the team.

WR Marcus Maxwell: The third-year veteran came into the summer with high hopes after a breakout campaign during the spring in NFL Europa, where he earned all-league honors and starred in the World Bowl. But despite his impressive credentials during the spring - 32 receptions for 499 yards and a league-leading seven touchdowns, then two more touchdown receptions in Hamburg's World Bowl victory - Maxwell failed to distinguish himself from the start during training camp and didn't really seem to get much of an opportunity while working with the third team most of the summer. Despite his size and potential, he had virtually no chance to make the roster from the get-go, so the 49ers released Maxwell on the first cut to allow him a possible opportunity to catch on with some other NFL team. "It was more a case of who we added to the roster than Marcus himself," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "Marcus is a better player than he was two years ago when we drafted him. He's a hard worker and a great kid. He does whatever you ask him to do. We added a couple of players that are ahead of him at this time. I could have waited a week, but at the same time he might get an opportunity (from) someone who thought highly of him in NFL Europe to give him a look." Maxwell, a seventh-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2005, still has practice squad eligibility remaining with the team but, Nolan said, "I am actually hoping someone else gives him an opportunity."

DE Roderick Green: Green established himself as one of San Francisco's top edge pass rushers toward the end of the season last year, and he finished with 4.5 sacks in nine games, which ranked third on the team. But, although the team liked that dimension in his game - and the fact that it is in serious need of heat from the edge - Green was a one-dimensional player who really didn't fit well as a linebacker in the 3-4 system. Though he was re-signed during the offseason, he quickly slid down the depth chart as the 49ers acquired more talent at the edge positions and never could get himself back up. "He was caught in a numbers game just the same," Nolan said. "I do believe Rod is a good player. He is someone that we will keep on our short list if something happens. He is another player that may get picked up. He has good pass-rush ability. I like Rod. Because of the numbers and guys like Parys Haralson, Jay Moore and Tully Banta-Cain, he was pushed back."

G Nick Seitz: Seitz finished last season on San Francisco's 53-man roster, but he was going to face an uphill battle to remain there this season, and there simply was no room for him with a strong cast of veterans ahead of him at the interior line positions. The 49ers are still carrying 14 offensive linemen into the final roster cutdown.

LB John Syptak: Another player who distinguished himself in NFL Europe, where he started five games at defensive end for the Frankfurt Galaxy and led the team with five sacks, Syptak simply couldn't make the conversion to outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. He was too slow and not agile enough to fit the scheme, and the ability he showed to get to the quarterback in Europe did not transfer well to the NFL level.

FB Steve Dildine: The undrafted rookie free agent came to the 49ers as a linebacker out of Washington State but was switched to fullback before training camp began. He had no shot at making the final roster, though he did a few nice things when given opportunities in camp, but they didn't come often.

CB Sammy Joseph: The undrafted rookie from LSU didn't look bad during camp and even made a few plays in earlier exhibition games, but there was nowhere for him to push into contention for a roster berth, particularly with fifth-round draft pick Tarell Brown playing so well.

P Ken Parrish: Was here just as a camp leg to spell Andy Lee during practice drills and such. Hit a 50-yard punt in the preseason game against Chicago on Saturday, and also showed the ability to hit some big ones in practice.

WR Dominique Zeigler: The undrafted rookie from Baylor came into camp as the last receiver on the San Francisco roster, and he never moved up the past four weeks, even though he usually performed well when given an opportunity and showed some decent hands.

K MacKenzie Hoambrecker: Was with the team this summer strictly as a camp leg so that veteran Joe Nedney did not get overworked. Hoambrecker got a chance to kick off late in the Chicago game on Saturday and sent his kick to the seven-yard line. But he has a long way to go to make it as a NFL kicker, as he displayed during the team's Aug. 4 camp scrimmage, when the lefty missed all three of his field-goal attempts - hooking a 35-yarder wide right, having a 40-yarder blocked and slicing a 44-yarder wide left.

Niners Digest Top Stories