49ers' Jason Verrett taking it 'day by day' waiting to make season debut

49ers' Jason Verrett taking it 'day by day' waiting to make season debut

SANTA CLARA -- When 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett has been healthy, he has been a Pro Bowl-caliber NFL cornerback.

After missing the preseason with an ankle injury, Verrett was listed as questionable on the 49ers’ injury report for Week 1. He did not appear on the injury report leading up to Week 2.

Yet, Verrett is still waiting to make his debut with the 49ers, with whom he signed a one-year contract in the offseason. He was declared one of the team’s seven inactive players for both of the 49ers' first two games. The decisions on which players are inactive are announced 90 minutes before kickoff.

“Yeah, it’s very difficult when it’s like that,” said Verrett, 28, a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2014. “But at the same time, I’m a pro. I take it for what it is, and control what I can control and just try to move forward with it.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers did not seriously consider playing him in the first two games as he was returning from the ankle injury.

“I know he really wanted to get out there last week, but we tried to play it smart with him,” Shanahan said. “He has a better chance to get out there this week. That’s something we will discuss. It doesn’t all have to do with him. It’ll have to do with the rest of the roster and how we plan on attacking these guys.”

The 49ers play their regular-season home opener on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Levi's Stadium.

Verrett sustained a torn Achilles on the first day of camp last summer with the Chargers and missed the entire 2018 season. A variety of injuries have limited Verrett to just 25 games in six seasons. In 2014, Verrett appeared in a career-high 14 games, and he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.

This is something new for Verrett to be healthy and not suiting up for games.

“It’s definitely an adjustment for me, not being on the field,” he said. “I’m just taking it by day by day.”

Ahkello Witherspoon has strengthened his hold on the job as the 49ers’ starting right cornerback with veteran Richard Sherman on the left side. Witherspoon and Sherman had interception returns for touchdowns in the 49ers' opener at Tampa Bay.

Verrett has not played any nickel back with the 49ers, but he said he's capable of covering the slot receiver because of his familiarity with the defense.

“I think everything is going to play out how it’s supposed to be,” Verrett said. "I just got to continue taking care of my body and doing what I need to do in practice.

“I feel with how the defense is playing -- they’re playing well -- I feel it’s going to be a time where I’m going to find my way onto the field. I just got to control what I can control ... If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. All I can do is stay prepared week-in and week-out, and when my number is called, be ready to play.”

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The 49ers have entered the first two games of the season with Emmanuel Moseley and D.J. Reed as the backup cornerbacks – due mostly to their contributions on special teams.

Verrett said he is trying to remain focused on putting himself in a position to play his best football when his time comes to step on the field.

When asked if he would consider asking for a trade if he continues to be inactive for games, Verrett told NBC Sports Bay Area, “We’ll see what happens.”

George Kittle returns to practice, expected to play vs. Washington

George Kittle returns to practice, expected to play vs. Washington

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers tight end George Kittle showed up on the injury report with a groin strain last Friday. Two days later, he looked completely healthy going up against the Los Angeles Rams.

Kittle was held out of practice on Wednesday, but he returned to limited work during the 49ers’ padded work on Thursday at their team facility. Kittle downplayed the team’s report of his physical condition and is expected to play Sunday against Washington.

Kittle caught eight passes for 103 yards in the 49ers’ 20-7 victory over the Rams on Sunday.

However, the 49ers had seven players who did not participate in Thursday's practice. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon remain out of action.

[RELATED: McGlinchey had tough time watching 49ers' win from home]

Running back Raheem Mostert (knee), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and nose tackle D.J. Jones (hamstring) sustained injuries in the 49ers’ win over the Rams that have kept them from practicing thus far this week.

49ers practice report

Did not practice
DT D.J. Jones (hamstring)
FB Kyle Juszczyk (knee)
T Mike McGlinchey (knee)
RB Raheem Mostert (knee)
WR Deebo Samuel (groin)
T Joe Staley (fibula)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot)

DE Dee Ford (quadricep)
TE George Kittle (groin)
CB K'Waun Williams (hand)

Washington practice report

Did not practice
S Deshazor Everett (ankle)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring)
G Wes Martin (chest)  
CB Josh Norman (thigh, hand)
RB Chris Thompson (toe)

TE Vernon Davis (concussion)

Full participation
QB Case Keenum (right shoulder, foot)
RB Adrian Peterson (quadricep)

Arik Armstead not thinking about contract amid breakout year for 49ers

Arik Armstead not thinking about contract amid breakout year for 49ers

SANTA CLARA — Not too long ago, 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead had trouble staying on the field and was labeled as someone who was not living up to first-round expectations. 

Armstead only was able to suit up for 14 games from 2016-2017, landing on injured reserve both seasons. But fast-forward to Week 7 of 2019, and Armstead is making a case for huge contract after he closes out his fifth season with San Francisco.

Armstead is set to have a career-best season, as he's already racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and 20 total tackles, four of which were for a loss. The 49ers defense has been bolstered by several offseason additions, including edge rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, and Armstead has been reaping the rewards. 

“It’s been great,” Armstead told NBC Sports Bay Area. “As a whole defense, they’ve had a big impact. It’s fun playing with great players. Those guys are extremely talented and they bring a whole different element to the defense.” 

With the edges sealed up, Armstead has been able to enjoy putting his hand in the dirt next to long-time teammate DeForest Buckner. The two have been playing together since their time at the University of Oregon. Both former Ducks stand 6-foot-7, and limit a quarterback's downfield vision tremendously. 

“Super fun, like it’s always been going out there with a great friend,” Armstead said. “We’ve been going to battle together for a long time. Just trying to go out there and dominate and have an impact on our team like we have had over the years.” 

Armstead won’t admit thinking about if his NFL future includes playing with the 49ers beyond this year. He has been focused on each opponent as they come, while enjoying the team’s victories -- at least just a little bit. 

“I’m just taking it week by week,” Armstead said. “Contract stuff, it’s out of my control. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen with that. All I can focus on is preparing for the game and try to go out there and dominate and win my matchups and show what I can do.”

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Armstead has used his production on the field not only to increase his own future contract value, but also to fund equal opportunities in education for underserved youth in his home town of Sacramento. He is donating $1,000 dollars for every sack and $250 for every tackle he makes this season to his foundation. He previously raised $100,000 at his charity gala to fund programs. 

One of the events that Armstead created with his foundation was a trip for 30 students to spend the entire day at 49ers headquarters. They participated in a career panel with 49ers employees as well as getting a tour of the facility.

For more information on donating to Armstead’s foundation, visit www.arikarmstead91.com.